Kirklees council urged not to back Leeds Bradford expansion plans – due to climate impact
Kirklees Council leader has been urged not to back the use of public money to help the £41 million expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. The call came from Kirklees Greens leader, Cllr Cooper, who says pumping £5 million into a proposed new rail interchange – the Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway scheme – would inevitably increase international flights and could undermine regional carbon emissions targets. Such a commitment of public money, increasing carbon emissions at a time of climate crisis, was foolhardy. The airport’s expansion plans are being considered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), a group of leading councillors and officers from West Yorkshire councils, plus York, that works on major infrastructure projects. The rail interchange would include a new railway station on the Harrogate railway line and associated access works, assisting access to the airport. The scheme is being promoted with claims it will improve air quality … slightly dubious reasoning there … Cllr Cooper: “Kirklees Council cannot ignore the impact of air travel and the threat it poses to all the actions that we need to be taking to reduce global emissions.”
Kirklees council urged not to back Leeds Bradford airport expansion plans
The council leader has been told it will undermine regional carbon emissions targets
By Tony Earnshaw (Local Democracy Reporter – Examiner Live)
6 FEB 2020
Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor has been urged not to back the use of public money to help the multi-million pound expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport.
The call came from Kirklees Greens leader Clr Andrew Cooper, who says pumping £5m into a proposed new rail interchange would inevitably increase international flights and could undermine regional carbon emissions targets.
He said committing to spend public money in such a way was “foolhardy”.
Clr Cooper, a leading figure nationally within the Green Party, spoke out in advance of the £41m airport plan being discussed at a meeting in Bradford of West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), a group of leading councillors and officers from West Yorkshire councils, plus York, that works on major infrastructure projects.
The project, known formally as the Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway scheme, will see delivery of a new rail station on the Harrogate railway line and associated access works. It will serve as a rail interchange and parkway function to the airport.
Senior councillors, including Clr Pandor, will meet in Bradford (FEB 6) to determine whether to develop the final business case for the scheme.
A WYCA report says it will “support an increase in international connectivity” as well as improving the public transport access to and from the airport whilst supporting a reduction in road congestion levels and consequently improving air quality.
WYCA is expected to contribute around £5m towards the final cost.
Clr Cooper, who represents the Newsome ward on Kirklees Council, said: “Public money should not be used to support airport expansion.
“The new train station that has been proposed will assist Leeds Bradford Airport expansion plans.
“Currently international air travel is unregulated, unrestricted and therefore this decision will blow any carbon emission targets that we are trying to achieve. It is foolhardy of local leaders to use public money in this way.
“Kirklees Council cannot ignore the impact of air travel and the threat it poses to all the actions that we need to be taking to reduce global emissions.”
‘Lives will be blighted’ by £150M Leeds Bradford Airport plans say protesters after ‘die-in’ at meeting
Leeds Bradford is planning to expand, spending £150 million on a new terminal that would allow more annual flights and passengers. Local residents object to the plans as an ‘abdication of responsibility’ and claimed an eco-friendly terminal would be pointless if the numbers of flights increased, as this would massively increase CO2 emissions. The Council meeting had been suspended for 20 minutes due to protests from climate campaigners, locking themselves to railings and holding a die-in. As well as the terminal, the airport wants to reduce the night period with no flights by 90 minutes, so instead of the current 8 hours of quiet at night, there would just be 6 and a half hours. The airport wants to start work in winter 2020, with an opening in 2023. “If we have to go to carbon offsetting, that is what we will do.” The airport is terrified of not growing. The extra noise will blight the lives of thousands of residents under the flight paths. The decision by the Leeds Council City Plans Panel was to take no view on the pre-application and ask the Airport for further information.
Leeds Bradford Airport wants to cut night-time period by 90 minutes to just 11.30pm to 6am
Leeds Bradford Airport wants rules that impose a range of night-time flying restrictions to be relaxed, so it can operate more flights. The current restrictions, since 1993, are that the airport can only operate 4,000 flights a year during the night-time period, which is 11pm to 7am. Now the airport wants the night-time period reduced from 8 hours to 6.5 hours, so it is from 11.30pm to 6am – an hour and a half less. The WHO says people should have a quiet period for sleep for 8 hours per night. Most adults need between 7-8 hours of good sleep per night. That is not possible, if the night period is only 6.5 hours. That also does not include planes arriving later than 11.30pm, for delays etc. The change the airport wants means lots of flights in the “shoulder periods”. ie. between 6am and 7am, and between 11pm and 11.30pm. This enables airlines to fit in more “rotations” so they can make more return trips to European holiday destination airports, making more money for airlines. The plans will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s on January 30th; the airport may submit a planning application in the coming months.
Leeds Bradford Airport link road plans scrapped
Plans for a new link road to Leeds Bradford Airport have been scrapped because of a lack of public support. The decision comes after climate change activists held a protest against airport expansion proposals. But Leeds City Council said it had “taken on board” feedback from residents and its decision was not made because of “climate lobbying”. Other plans, which include a railway station and bus terminal, are due to be discussed at a meeting on 7 January. A councillor said due to public feedback, they were taking forward proposals for a parkway station, investing in sustainable public transport infrastructure, and this would “help to take cars off the roads”.
Leeds Citizens’ Jury on climate change recommends NOT expanding Leeds Bradford airport
Leeds recently held a “Climate Change Citizens’ Jury” on climate change, with 21 “jurors”. It was put together by the Leeds Climate Commission, with jurors selected through a process to make it representative of a “mini-public” of Leeds, with varying different views. The Jury was tasked with examining the Leeds’ response to the emergency of climate change and with producing recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the Commission and a range of organisations across Leeds. The jury started in September, and ran for a total of 30 hours over 9 sessions, ending in early November. The findings, in the form of recommendations written by the jurors, have been presented at a launch event on 25 November 2019 and will be presented formally to Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee in January 2019, which can make formal recommendations to Leeds City Council’s executive board. One of the recommendations was that Leeds Bradford Airport should not be expanded, with a vote for that by 86% of the jury. They said residents should be informed about the impact of expansion on carbon emissions, and flying should be discouraged, for example by higher taxation through the Frequent Flyer tax.