Leeds Bradford Airport expansion 'devastating, bewildering - or should be scrapped altogether' say YEP readers

News that a consultation into a planned expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport is to go ahead has led to an outpouring of strong feelings from readers. Here is just a selection of some of the letters we've received on the subject.
Consultation is to be held into an expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport.Consultation is to be held into an expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport.
Consultation is to be held into an expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport.

FROM: Jess Fowle, via email

Leeds Bradford Airport has just submitted its planning application to expand capacity and I am dismayed to see that local people have been given just 21 days to object.

At a time when science is telling us that - if we want an inhabitable world - we have no option but to dramatically decrease the amount we fly, this planning application would see the airport nearly double its passenger capacity in the next 10 years.

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This time frame is utterly unreasonable in that it does not allow time to read and provide considered responses to 200 technical documents.

As recent flooding has shown - climate change is not something that happens ‘elsewhere’. It is alive and well in Yorkshire and, without sustained and significant action, it is only going to get worse.

The planning committee would do well to look to the rejections of expansion plans at Bristol, Stansted and most recently at Heathrow - where the Court of Appeal ruled that the proposed third runway was in contravention of the Paris Agreement to limit global heating to well below 2c.

This is the first time that a court has confirmed the Paris Agreement target to be legally binding and it is a development that local authorities should not underestimate.

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As well as the enormous and catastrophic implications for climate change, the response deadline does not give local people the chance to find out the full implications of more noise, more air pollution and worse traffic congestion.

The local authorities in the Yorkshire area have gained rightful credit for their pioneering work in working to transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Were it to go ahead, an expansion of aviation capacity in the area would render all of that work utterly pointless and give out an incredibly demoralising message.

These are difficult decisions, and there are many opposing voices.

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But, it is essential that all parties are provided with an adequate period for this potentially devastating development to be fully scrutinised.

The prospect of a catastrophic pandemic was raised repeatedly by scientists and largely ignored by governments.

The authorities would do well to give adequate time and consideration to the science when it comes to climate change.

FROM: Marianne Springham, via email

I have just seen the plans for the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport and the time frame given for the public to respond. I did not know about the plans as it has not been widely published within our community (Otley).

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Less than one month to read and respond to 207 documents during this time is totally unreasonable. The council is pushing through a project that will have a huge impact on our community with too little time for people to respond.

In the current Covid-19 climate, we (our family company) are developing up an entirely new business strategy to survive and I don’t have time to put this at the forefront of my agenda, although it will seriously impact my community and my family.

With more noise pollution and air pollution, I am bewildered that in this environmentally challenging world the council would even consider such a plan.

Please can you encourage the council to extend the time frame for respondants in light of the current situation, people have other pressing issues to deal with at the moment.

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The council should be ashamed to be pushing this though so quickly at this time. It is totally unfair on our community and unethical to expect people to be thinking about this now!

FROM: Nick Hodgkinson, Leeds 8

I’ve just seen that Leeds Bradford Airport has asked the council for permission to expand. This is madness!

Air travel has just jet propelled coronavirus around the world, causing over 36,000 deaths in England alone.

Aviation industry experts say it will be several years before air travel is trusted again. Fair enough. Who wants to risk their life getting on a crowded plane? And how many people will be able to afford it?

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Allowing the airport to extend its flying hours now makes no sense whatsoever. Putting more planes into the sky means putting massive amounts of extra carbon into the atmosphere.

That will make the next crisis - the climate crisis - even worse. This is a very good moment for the council to support jobs in safe and sustainable industries - not the airport.