Rob Parsons’ April 8 article ‘Minister delays decision about airport review’ mentions Leeds Bradford Airport’s claim that it can already expand passenger numbers with its existing facilities, and that the replacement terminal building will help it achieve carbon net-zero.
Since January 2019, however, the airport has been under a section 106 legal agreement with Leeds City Council, which limits expansion that results in annual passenger numbers consistently above 4.5 million. This agreement recognises that surface access arrangements cannot easily cope beyond that number.
If the current application is fully approved, the airport will be able to avoid this control of passenger numbers because the previous section 106 agreement would effectively be superseded by a grant of permission designed to facilitate growth to seven million.
This would almost double the annual passenger numbers by 2030, leading to a similar proportional increase in atmospheric heating from greenhouse gasses and planes’ contrails, seeing as the current rate of increase of aircraft efficiency is limited to about one per cent a year, and hydrogen, electric or biofuel-powered planes are wishful thinking in the timescale of years and decades, which is the critical time frame in our handling of the climate crisis.
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In comparison to such a dramatic proposed increase in flights, what is the good in a ‘carbon-neutral’ terminal building?