Stop expanding airports; climate change is a bigger threat than this pandemic

Do you back Leeds Bradford Airport's expansion plans?Do you back Leeds Bradford Airport's expansion plans?
Do you back Leeds Bradford Airport's expansion plans? | JPIMedia Resell
From: Jess Fowle, Hebden Bridge.

LEEDS Bradford Airport has just submitted its planning application to expand capacity, ​and I am dismayed to see that local people have been given just 21 days to object.

At a time when science is telling us that – if we want an inhabitable world – we have no option but to dramatically decrease the amount we fly, 
this planning application would see the airport nearly double
its passenger capacity in the next 10 years. This timeframe is utterly unreasonable in that 
it does not allow time to read, 
and provide considered responses, to 200 technical documents.

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It is arguably even more unfair given the current Covid crisis as many people will be unable to fully engage, and their ability to protest and gather in public, is completely curtailed.

Plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport are up for debate.Plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport are up for debate.
Plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport are up for debate.

As recent flooding has shown, climate change is not something that happens ‘elsewhere’.

It is alive and well in Yorkshire and, without sustained and significant action, it is only going to get worse.

The planning committee would do well to look to the rejections of expansion plans at Bristol, Stansted and, most recently, at Heathrow where the Court of Appeal ruled that the proposed third runway was in contravention of the Paris Agreement to limit global heating to well below 2c.

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This is the first time that a court has confirmed the Paris Agreement target to be legally binding.

As well as the catastrophic implications for climate 
change, the response deadline does not give local people the chance to find out the full implications of more noise, more air pollution and worse traffic congestion.

The local authorities in the Yorkshire area have gained rightful credit for their pioneering work in working to transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Were it to go ahead, an expansion of aviation capacity would render all of that work utterly pointless and give out an incredibly demoralising message. These are difficult decisions, and that there are many opposing voices, but it is essential that all parties are provided with an adequate period for this potentially devastating development to be fully scrutinised.

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The prospect of a catastrophic pandemic was raised repeatedly by scientists and largely ignored by governments.

The authorities would do well to give adequate consideration to the science when it comes to climate change.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

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