Leeds Bradford Airport boss says it will become net zero regardless of new terminal being approved or not

The boss of Leeds Bradford Airport has said that the business will become net zero by 2030 even if its plan for a new terminal building are knocked back.

Vincent Hodder told The Yorkshire Post that the commitment to net zero had been carefully designed so as to be able to be enacted either with its proposed £150m terminal upgrade plan or with its existing facility.

The new terminal building was approved by planners in February of this year but is now being looked at by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government with no date for review having been confirmed.

However Mr Hodder said that the drive to a net zero airport would be far easier and deliverable were the proposed upgrade to be approved.

Leeds Bradford Airport plans to be net zero. Pic Charlotte Graham

"We have been very careful with this decision," he said.

"We will be net zero in 2030.

"The new terminal building will accelerate that plan and mean we can do it a bit earlier.

"In either case however we will be net zero.

Leeds Bradford Airport's proposed new terminal.

"Any refurbishment of the existing terminal would not be as effective as it would be with a BREEM excellent rated building."

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The pledge to become net zero would see Leeds Bradford become one of only a handful of such airports in the UK, with only Bristol Airport currently having achieved the standard.

Mr Hodder insisted the pledge was not an attempt to persuade Government officials to back the new terminal and took aim at environmental campaigners who may characterise the plan as "Greenwashing" - a term referring to companies who promote unjustified environmentally friendly practices through branding and spin.

Leeds Bradford Airport's proposed new terminal.

"It is very easy to throw out that term," said Mr Hodder.

"Green washing means putting lipstick on a pig or saying something that is not real or avoiding a real commitment.

"This is a robust, clearly defined, transparent and deliverable plan. There will be a quarterly report on its progress."

The move to net zero represents a £100m commitment from Leeds Bradford.

Mr Hodder, who was appointed CEO at Leeds Bradford in February, is a 20 year veteran of the aviation industry - one of the most polluting in the transport sector.

He insisted that aerospace sector was going to considerable lengths to clean up its contribution to carbon emissions and said that airlines are investing billions into new fleets and fuels that are less harmful to the environment.

"The sums of money involved are phenomenal," he said.

"I do not see how this can be perceived as green washing."

Part of the drive to net zero will see Leeds Bradford attempt to encourage greener methods of transport to and from the airport itself, with Mr Hodder saying he wanted improved links to Yorkshire's towns and cities.

"That is really quite sizeable in terms of emissions from surface access to the airport. We want to have big improvements in terms of links to Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and York.

"We want people to drive here in electric vehicles.

"I acknowledge that the pricing of coming into the airport causes frustration but it is free to park here for 60 minutes if you are in an electric vehicle. We want to push more people into electric vehicles."

When asked about the timing of a decision from Whitehall concerning the planned new terminal, Mr Hodder said: "It is a very long process. We are certainly not pinning all of our hopes on a positive outcome.

"I do not think the commitment to net zero will change any decision.

"That is not why we are doing it. It is the right thing for our business."

Part of the plan will also see the airport's chief operators commit to reduced emissions.

Jet2.com has pledged to reduce CO2 per passenger by 10 per cent by 2030 and operate 50 per cent zero emission ground support equipment by 2023.

Similarly, Ryanair has committed to 60g CO 2 per passenger by 2030 and KLM has outlined a CO2 reduction path developed by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) specifically for the airline industry in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.