Leeds Bradford Airport campaigners call on Leeds Council leader to speak out against expansion plans
Leeds City Council's new leader has been urged to speak out against Leeds Bradford Airport's (LBA) expansion plans ahead of a key meeting today (Thursday).
The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), who oppose plans to build a new terminal building and increase the number of flights, said new council leader James Lewis must show that he is "passionate" about the climate emergency.
A "state of the art" £150m terminal building was given conditional approval by councillors last month, but the plans will be discussed again this afternoon and campaigners said councillors would be within their rights to reject the application.
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “Last week, Coun Lewis said ‘we’re passionate about the climate change agenda in Leeds’ and told us that new district heating networks will save 11,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year.
"That’s good but we wonder if Councillor Lewis understands that is the equivalent of just 92 return flights to Malaga.
"To put this into perspective, LBA wants 252 extra flights per week during the summer time. So the savings made in a year from the heating networks would be gone in less than three days.
"We’re asking Coun Lewis to show everyone how ‘passionate’ he is about climate change by adding his voice to the thousands of people calling for expansion to be stopped."
The anti-expansion group has also raised almost £20,000 to fund a legal challenge.
Lawyers from Friends of the Earth have written to Leeds planning officers to highlight what they say are legal mistakes at the planning meeting which saw the plans get the green light.
The letter warns Leeds City Council that they failed to take into account the Committee on Climate Change’s requirement for no net airport expansion and failed to consider greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation.
Friends of the Earth have advised Leeds councillors to reconsider their decision at their meeting today.
Mr Foren added: “The fact that Leeds councillors were told to ignore emissions from flying is legally wrong - as well as making no common sense.
"We’re pleased that Friends of the Earth have also written to the Council pointing out their mistakes.
"On Thursday, those councillors have another chance to live up to their promise to do everything within their power to tackle the climate emergency by rejecting LBA’s application.”
The LBA Support Group has also released an open letter ahead of the meeting.
It says: "The injection of £150m into the local economy would be transformational. It will not only secure the jobs of thousands of people already reliant on the airport for their employment, but also create work for thousands more.
"It will also make Leeds a more attractive place for business and support inward tourism in the region as a whole, but particularly in our National Parks, the coast and York."
It adds: "It is clear that if Leeds Bradford doesn’t get its new terminal building then competitor airports, principally Manchester (Doncaster and Durham Tees Valley are also biting at Leeds’ heels) will ‘take up the slack’ and generate income and jobs at that airport- all at the expense of Leeds and Yorkshire as a whole."