Controversial Leeds-Bradford airport plan stays grounded
terminal have been scuppered for the time being.
impact it could have on roads in the area after getting more than 900 letters
The proposed terminal extension is part of a £70m investment programme that Bridgepoint
Capital, owners of the airport, intend to carry out over the next five years.
The Leeds City Council’s east plans panel heard the two storey extension would
include a new departure lounge, shops and improved main entrance, arrivals concourse,
check-in areas, information desk and enlarged security search facilities.
Currently nearly three million passengers a year use Leeds Bradford.
That figure is expected to grow over the next few years and an extended terminal
could handle up to five million passengers a year.
And while many leading organisations including Yorkshire Tourist Board, the Royal
Armouries museum, Yorkshire Cricket Club and the Harrogate International Centre
supported the application, the council received more than 900 letters of objection,
many arguing that roads in the area would be unable to cope with the extra traffic
generated by the airport’s expansion.
Anthony Rae, of Friends of the Earth, told a packed meeting of the panel that
road junctions in the area were already at capacity.
He also argued that if the forecast increase in passenger numbers was achieved,
the airport would generate more CO2 emissions than the rest of Leeds put together.
Mr David Cooper, who lives in Yeadon, said: “This extension must not be allowed
until the proposed road link between the airport and the ring-road is put in place
to take traffic away from the already crowded, inadequate and unsuitable roads
of north west Leeds.”
The report to the panel said Bridgepoint would commit £1m on public transport
improvements to encourage people to get to the airport by bus.
Among a list of other travel measures, the company was also prepared to spend
up to £228,000 a year on bus links between the airport and Leeds, Bradford and
Mr Carl Lapworth, the airport’s operations and engineering director, said the
application was not about the principle of growth.
He said it was about safeguarding the airport’s 2,200 jobs and encouraging economic
But panel members said they could not give the scheme their backing at this stage.
While supporting the development of improved airport facilities, they said much
more work needed to be done on how people could be persuaded to get to the airport
by public transport.
Planning officials will hold talks over transport issues before bringing forward
a new report to the panel.
planners turned down the first phase of the project.
five million passengers per year by 2012 – an increase of more than two million.
and the impact on the area’s roads and environment.
the proposals, which would include a £2 million roadworks and public transport
and public transport plans to be drawn up before they could approve any expansion.
moved to a larger building as 200 members of the public packed into Yeadon Civic
Hall for the hearing.
just about the terminal building, it’s about expansion too. The big question is
how do we get people to the airport? There’s a problem on the roads now. Getting
five million people to that airport is a massive piece of work and I think the
list (of proposed public transport incentives and road improvement funds) we have
in front of us is woefully inadequate."
increases could see the airport’s CO2 emissions by 2050 exceeding, on their own,
the emissions target for the whole of Leeds set by the Leeds Climate Change Strategy.
and the important road junctions are already at capacity."
Carl Lapworth, had highlighted the benefits the proposals could bring. He said:
"The successful regions in the UK are supported by a strong and growing regional
airport. This is about delivering improved, professional, efficient airport facilities.
which has already been established.
significant numbers of businesses throughout our region. It’s about safeguarding
the 2,200 people directly employed by LBIA currently and the terminal’s development
will create new jobs."
more passengers have been kicked into touch.
project, which is expected to generate 3,000 jobs, so long as airport chiefs agreed
a raft of measures to combat traffic congestion and improve public transport.
and there is a video clip …
But last night planning councillors unanimously agreed to defer their decision.
They indicated broad support for the expansion, but criticised the transport blueprint
put forward by the airport for failing to tackle key issues. These included transport
links from Leeds, one of Britain’s most congested cities.
Coun Jamie Matthews (Liberal Democrat, Headingley) told the city council’s plans
panel west: “What we want is some ambitious public transport ideas.”
The expansion of the outdated terminal building is at the heart of a £70m masterplan
designed to improve facilities and increase passenger numbers to 5.1 million a
year by 2016.
Airport owners Bridgepoint Capital say passengers travelling through the existing
terminal building are beset with delays and congestion. The proposed two-storey
extension would improve facilities, with a new departure lounge, shops and passenger
screening zone and improved immigration facilities.
Airport chiefs had pledged to invest heavily in public transport, including a
phased contribution of £1m towards bus services and highway measures and investment
in bus links between the airport and Bradford, Harrogate and Leeds.
There were also plans to reinstate buses between the airport and York.
Business leaders have long demanded better transport investment – a survey two
years ago warned that Yorkshire’s business community favoured Manchester Airport
because the roads to Leeds Bradford in Yeadon were so congested and there was
no direct rail link.
The airport’s operation and engineering director, Carl Lapworth, told councillors
yesterday: “This application is about improving the way in which the terminal
He said most Yorkshire air travellers travelled outside the region for flights
and the airport was keen to improve public transport and supportive of a tram-train
But councillors were warned that the Government, which vetoed the Leeds Supertram
scheme in 2005, would have to back any tram-train scheme, which was still a long
Faced with a sea of public protest, councillors said they wanted to see how bus
use would be encouraged if already congested roads around the airport could be
improved, and sought reassurance that efforts to press the Government for a tram-train
link would continue.
Coun Matthews added: “We want some clear structure in place that’s going to look
at these ideas. At the moment from what I can see the ambition is to get what’s
six per cent bus usership up to 10 per cent – well, that’s not good enough.”
Coun Neil Taggart (Labour, Bramley and Stanningley) described the public transport
proposals as “an aspirational wish list”.
Local resident David Cooper said he did not think expansion of bus services would
encourage people to leave their cars at home. “Businessmen do not use buses,”
he told the meeting.
The council received well over 1,000 letters of protest to the proposals. Environment
group Friends of the Earth said estimated increases in passenger numbers represented
a huge increase in traffic and warned of the climate change impact
Protesters who also gathered outside prior to the meeting at Leeds Civic Hall
voiced fears local roads would become gridlocked despite efforts to encourage
Among those backing the scheme were the Yorkshire Tourist Board, Yorkshire County
Cricket Club and Bradford Chamber of Commerce.
The plans will now be discussed again by councillors at a later date.
Aiming for new heights
Airport in 1935.
a few more:
plans in just 2 months.
building. If approved this will increase passenger capacity by 2012 from 2.9
million to 5 million a year – a 70% increase in 5 years. The airport could be
emitting as much CO2 as the entire city of Leeds by 2050. This huge increase
is not supported by either Leeds Bradford Airport’s own masterplan or the Government’s
Aviation White Paper. Take action: Please ask Leeds City Council to refuse permission for the terminal extension.
Please send them an email.