'More planes to fly over Leeds city centre and Headingley' if Leeds Bradford Airport flight path changes

A residents' group has written to the Civil Aviation Authority to object to proposed changes to Leeds Bradford Airport's flight path.

The North West Leeds Transport Forum fears that more public areas - including Leeds General Infirmary, Headingley Stadium and Beckett Park - would be exposed to aircraft noise once the new routes come into force.

In 2017 Leeds Bradford Airport began a consultation on flight path changes which they admitted would see around 200 people exposed to 57-decibel noise levels who had not been previously.

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Noise warning for residents over Leeds Bradford Airport airspace changesPlanes taking off to the south-east would continue in a straight line over Leeds city centre, rather than turning right over West Park towards Pudsey as they currently do.

Departing aircraft would also ascend more gradually under the new plans to reach higher altitudes. If approved by the CAA, the changes would come into effect in spring 2019.

This is what Leeds Bradford Airport's new terminal building could look likeThe NWLTF forum claims that these alterations would mean more aircraft overflying areas such as the Leeds Beckett University campus, Beckett Park, Headingley Stadium, Woodhouse Moor, the University of Leeds, Leeds city centre and noise-sensitive buildings like the Queenswood Educational Centre and Leeds General Infirmary.

Leeds Bradford Airport terminal expansion: The full plansThey also fear there would be an increase in aircraft noise in an area stretching from Weetwood to Belle Isle and including Meanwood Park and Woodhouse Ridge.

However, airport bosses actually claim the changes will reduce noise levels for a large number of residents.

They admitted 200 people living on six roads would now be included in the top 57-decibel noise area - Lambert Terrace, Springfield Close and King George Road in Horsforth; West Chevin Road and Moor Top in Otley; and Banksfield Grove in Yeadon. Aircraft would also fly closer to Burley-in-Wharfedale and Baildon than they currently do.

Al Siddoway, head of air traffic control at Leeds Bradford, told the Yorkshire Evening Post in 2017 that people should not be worried about the proposed new arrangements.

He said the aim was to 'improve things' for the communities around Yeadon and stressed that he wanted to fully engage with residents.

The plans are part of a nationwide push towards the use of more accurate satellite-based navigation and would let departing aircraft climb earlier while revised arrival routes would allow planes to fly fewer miles.

Across the board, said Mr Siddoway, the changes would provide benefits including 'reduced noise impact on local communities, reduced CO2 emissions and fuel savings'. He added:

“Delivering more accurate aircraft routes would meet the requirements of both national and regional policies, and directly contribute towards the airport’s objectives within its recently published Masterplan, Route to 2030.

“Considerable time and effort has been invested in developing these procedures to reduce impact on local communities."

Around 5,100 people live within the current boundaries of the Leeds Bradford 57-decibel area. The number of people with homes in the airport’s 54-decibel area would rise by about 400 under the plans.

The NWLTF's objections can be read in their report here.