York Green opposes the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport

York Green Party has submitted an objection to the expansion of Leeds / Bradford Airport because it is not sustainable, and not compatible with the Climate Change Act. Here is our objection:

Re Planning Application 20/02559/FU Airside developments at Leeds Bradford Airport

This objection is submitted on behalf of York Green Party

We are writing to object to this application on the grounds that the development is not sustainable, and does not meet the legal requirements of the Climate Change Act 2008, as such the development should be opposed.

While there are some motivations for the development that should be commended such as making the airport more accessible to people with a range of disabilities this cannot be used to justify a development whose real purpose is to massively increase the number of flights and the number of passengers through the airport.

More to the point though, if the airport were to expand as intended by the owners then we would see pretty much all of the carbon budget for the West Yorkshire area being taken up by flying from the airport, and that would mean even greater cuts in carbon emissions elsewhere. It cannot be justified that what is essentially a luxury takes such a large proportion of the remaining emissions. Given that much of those emissions would be accounted for by the frequent flyers, rather than those who take a foreign holiday once every year or two (or never) it is also very inequitable, allowing less than 10% of the population to have very high emissions.

We have already seen Bristol turn down the expansion of their airport, and the expansion of Heathrow has been blocked by the courts on the grounds that it is not compatible with the Climate Change Act 2008, at the same time declaring the government’s Airport National Planning Statement unlawful. It is therefore likely that any approval would be challenged in the courts and be found to be unlawful.

Leeds, York, Kirklees and many other local councils across the region have declared a climate emergency.  If this is to have any meaning whatsoever then it is clear that this planning application must be rejected on climate grounds.

The developers make much of the fact that the new building will have lower emissions that the current terminal. However, the building will use several decades worth of emissions in the concrete and steel used in the development, in the demolition of the existing building etc. Further, because the development is intended to increase the number of passengers from 4 million per year to 7 million per year this will be more than offset by the increased emissions from flights.

It is essential that you, as the planning authority, consider the total emissions that will result from the development including building the terminal, running it and those resulting from its use in terms of flights and people driving to the airport.

There are many other problems with the application too.  The airport wishes to increase the number of night flights, these have noise implications for everyone under the flight path with disturbed sleep which causes stress and reduces lives.

In summary. The proposed terminal development is not compatible with the Climate Change Act 2008 or the several councils Climate Emergency declarations. The Airport National Planning Statement has also been ruled unlawful which places the development in a legal vacuum. Therefore, the planning application should be rejected.

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