BCP Council were right to cancel the air show this year. We are going through a global pandemic crisis and the council’s first priority must be to protect the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, as well as our would-be visitors.

When you face an emergency, you act to remove the cause, minimise the risks and mitigate the impacts. Hundreds of thousands of visitors to Bournemouth in spectating crowds across the seafront pose huge risks to the safety of the conurbation and the UK at large. The climate emergency requires the same strong and urgent action – because it poses an unconscionable risk to both the people of BCP and even larger threats to communities all over the world.

Next year, the air show is planned to go ahead. Now could be the time to realise that a fossil fuel-fest of car-clogged roads and skies filled with planes doing loop-de-loops, while spewing out hundreds of tonnes of carbon dioxide, are entertainment luxuries we can ill afford in this time of looming climate and ecological catastrophe.

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While the pledge to offset the air show’s CO2 emissions is a step in the right direction, we need a better vision for the future of Bournemouth that is proportionate to the scale of the climate emergency. Not only did the pledge fail to consider the impacts of the increased road emissions from visitors and vendors, it also misses a crucial point about its tree planting venture. Those trees will take many decades to absorb the amount of CO2 that the aircraft, and traffic on the ground, will emit over the course of four days.

The project also offsets through a partnership that commits for every tree planted here, one tonne of CO2 will be saved in the Amazon Rainforest through an avoided deforestation project. Protecting the rainforest is a cause the council should support without using it to justify local emissions.

Tourism in our town could be built around a vibrant festival celebrating the unique cultural history and natural heritage of our beautiful home, championing local sustainable businesses and fostering a sense of collective community involvement.

This should be a festival that the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole want. Traffic congestion, litter, air pollution, noise disruption are all problems that residents of the conurbation raise about the arrival of the air show.

Instead, we should start the conversation about a sustainable tourism event that the people of BCP will enjoy year after year. One that welcomes people to our town using our convenient public transport links. That encourages visitors to utilise bus and bike services to travel around the area. Centred round the creativity, talent and diversity of the people who call this special seaside town their home.

What sort of festival could we have here in Bournemouth in the years to come? It could be a really exciting conversation to have.


Frampton Road, Bournemouth