Stop Leeds Bradford Airport expansion as it flies in face of climate emergency

From: Nick Hodgkinson, Gledhow, Leeds.

The proposed new terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport.

I RECENTLY read your opinion piece about Leeds Bradford Airport’s proposal to expand. I was very disappointed. You failed to consider the implications for the climate crisis – which means you failed to consider the future for all our children.

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The climate crisis is real. We can already see its effects in more frequent and severe flooding here in Yorkshire and in the terrifying Australian bushfires. There is scientific consensus that things will get much worse if we don’t drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years.

An aerial view of Leeds Bradford Airport as expansion plans are drawn up.

If LBA expansion goes ahead, that means doubling its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years.

The Leeds Climate Commission has warned that any reduction of emissions from a new terminal building would be grains of sand compared to the increased emissions from extra flights.

The airport’s owners, AMP Capital, want to extend night flights by 1.5 hours. They want this to increase their passenger numbers from four million per year now to seven million in 2030.

The UK Committee on 
Climate Change (a group of scientists who advise national government) has warned that we must limit passenger growth to at most 25 per cent by 2050. LBA wants to increase by 71 per cent by 2030.

An aircraft lands at Leeds Bradford Airport.

Leeds City Council has declared a Climate Emergency and accepts that expanding flying is “fundamentally incompatible” with reaching zero carbon until flying itself can be made zero carbon.

It would be deeply irresponsible to allow LBA to expand when flying is not zero carbon – and won’t be for a long time.

It is sometimes said that stopping LBA from expanding would mean people drive to Manchester and cause an increase in vehicle emissions. But people would only stop driving to Manchester if LBA offered flights to all the same destinations as Manchester. That would mean an even larger increase in LBA’s greenhouse gas emissions and more cars driving to Yeadon.

AMP Capital will submit a planning application to Leeds City Council in the spring. The local authorities responsible for applications to expand Stansted and Bristol airports have rejected them – because they would make the climate crisis worse.

If Leeds City Council wants its Climate Emergency Declaration to be more than just fine words, it should reject LBA’s planning application.