West Yorkshire teens hand-deliver 54,000 signature petition to London calling for public inquiry into Leeds Bradford Airport expansion plans

Three teenagers from West Yorkshire will today hand-deliver a petition with more than 54,000 signatures to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick calling for a public inquiry into the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion plans.

This is what the outside of the new terminal could look like, while a golden exterior and glass panelling (photo: Leeds Bradford Airport)
This is what the outside of the new terminal could look like, while a golden exterior and glass panelling (photo: Leeds Bradford Airport)

Brannoc Stevenson, 18, Naomi Simpson, 17, and Martha Dacombe, 17, will deliver the petition on behalf of the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA).

The petition asks Mr Jenrick to 'call in' controversial plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport and hold a public inquiry.

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It will be handed to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in London this afternoon (Friday).

The teenage campaigners say airport expansion "would undermine the UK’s chances of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and damage the government’s credibility as a climate leader, in the same year that it hosts the COP26 international climate conference".

The planning application to expand Leeds Bradford Airport was approved by Leeds City Council on March 22.

Then, GALBA wrote to Robert Jenrick asking him to hold a public inquiry into the expansion plans and MPs from Labour and Conservative parties have supported this call.

The Communities Secretary postponed making a decision on this request on April 6.

Martha, from Ilkley said: “This is not just about Leeds Bradford Airport.

"We’re on the brink of climate and ecological breakdown, yet airports throughout the country are trying to expand.

"Approving LBA’s application would open the floodgates of expansion at other airports.

"Like Greta Thunberg always says, we must listen to the science - and the scientists on the Climate Change Committee say we must stop all airports from expanding.

"I really hope Mr Jenrick listens to them.”

Brannoc, from Leeds added: “We have a real opportunity to make the right decisions today to build a better tomorrow.

"The good news is that we can invest in green jobs that will help us recover from Covid, fight the climate crisis and create a safer future - all at the same time! That’s the kind of job I want.”

In February LBA chairman Andy Clarke told the YEP his team would "work with whatever is thrown at us" to get their new terminal building over the line.

The airport insists the new terminal is not an expansion, as it can already expand passenger numbers with its existing facilities, and that the replacement building will help it achieve its carbon net-zero goals.

According to GALBA, experts warn that the cumulative impact of increasing emissions from all the UK's proposed airport expansions would "severely damage" the government's target of cutting emissions by 78 per cent by the year 2035.

The government has announced its acceptance of the Climate Change Committee’s advice to include greenhouse gases from aviation in the UK’s carbon reduction target, but there is currently no plan for how to cut aviation emissions

This is why last week, GALBA joined a network of 16 national and local airport campaigns calling on the government to impose an immediate moratorium on all proposed UK airport expansions.