Reaction to Leeds Bradford Airport terminal approval as campaigners promise legal challenge

Campaigners have vowed to mount a legal challenge against the decision to build a new £150m terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 12:07 pm
Updated Friday, 12th February 2021, 12:19 pm

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) said "the story is far from finished" after councillors last night gave the green light.

The decision will have to be rubber-stamped at a later date once the developers make tweaks to their proposals.

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An artist's impression of what Leeds Bradford Airport's new terminal would look like.

A GALBA spokesperson said: "This is the wrong decision: wrong in law, wrong in planning policy and wrong for our climate! Today, Leeds City Council has put itself on the wrong side of history."

They claimed the decision was legally flawed and promised a legal challenge if full permission is granted.

The spokesperson added: "We’re in a climate emergency and we simply cannot afford to carry on as if there’s no problem with increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

An artist's impression of the new terminal.

"We are grateful to those councillors who showed leadership by voting to protect our climate and our local communities. GALBA would also like to thank the thousands of people who support the campaign and say to them: stick with us – this story is far from finished.

"Even with the conditions set by the council, this gives the green light for a huge increase in greenhouse gases, noise and air pollution.

"Expansion would make it impossible for our city to become net zero and would make a mockery of the council’s climate emergency declaration."

The spokesperson said the declaration was now "meaningless" and said the council was "in denial".

They added: "This was an opportunity for Leeds City Council to show leadership and accept responsibility for protecting our world. They seem to have failed.

"In doing so, they have lost credibility when it comes to tackling the gravest danger that we face – the climate crisis."

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said "full and proper attention" was paid to all the arguments and pointed out the application "was assessed on its own individual merits as part of the council’s normal planning process."

They added: “There were a large number of matters for plans panel members to consider during this process, including the council’s declaration of a climate emergency and the issue of increasing carbon emissions from flights.

"Current Government policy points to these emissions being something that should be primarily tackled at a national level – and addressed through international agreements and protocols – rather than by suppressing growth at individual airports in a way that could simply export passengers to other nearby airports at a higher financial cost to them and increase surface transport emissions.

“The city plans panel also took into account matters such as the impact of aircraft noise on residents and the airport’s proposals for noise mitigation and landscaping as well as planned accessibility improvements designed to encourage a greater proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport for their journeys to and from the site.

“In addition, the airport’s plans showed that the proposed new terminal would replace the outdated and inefficient existing terminal and be built to a higher standard of environmental performance that would also provide an improved ‘gateway’ to Leeds, with an associated creation of new jobs."

The LBA Support Group welcomed the decision.

A spokesman said: "We are pleased to see a common sense outcome that supports hundreds of construction jobs at a time when they are needed the most.

"This project will create a better gateway to the Leeds City Region and the whole of Yorkshire, the investment will secure many jobs already benefiting from the airport and contribute to economic growth with new jobs created in both the aviation and travel industry.

"The new terminal will meet all the latest standards required including being BREEAM excellence rated as we move towards a carbon neutral future whilst also committing the airport to further improving public transport access."

Andy Clarke, Chairman of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “We thank the Plans Panel for all their diligent considerations and we are delighted with their support in principle.

"If fully approved, our scheme would enable us to become a net zero airport, delivering a much-improved passenger experience and creating thousands of jobs, helping to support our region’s recovery.

"We look forward to working with officers and hearing the final decision of the committee in due course.”