Controversial Leeds-Bradford airport plan stays grounded

comments by NLBAE   17.4.2009

17.4.2009   (Yorkshire Evening News)

Controversial plans for a £28m extension to Leeds-Bradford International Airport
terminal have been scuppered for the time being.

Councillors last night delayed a decision on the scheme amid concerns about the
impact it could have on roads in the area after getting more than 900 letters
of objection.

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.

see also
Major blow to airport as expansion plans rejected  
 [this is incorrect – it has been deferred, not rejected].
17.4.2009   Telegraph and Argus
by Jim Jack
A   £28 million development of Leeds Bradford Airport has been dealt a blow after
planners turned down the first phase of the project.

Airport bosses want to add a two-storey extension to its main terminal to attract
five million passengers per year by 2012 – an increase of more than two million.

But a planning panel has refused [ No, deferred] the application, citing serious concerns about the predicted passenger increases
and the impact on the area’s roads and environment.

Planning officers had recommended that Leeds Plans Panel (West) rubber-stamp
the proposals, which would include a £2 million roadworks and public transport

But the panel turned down the bid, calling for more detailed road improvement
and public transport plans to be drawn up before they could approve any expansion.

A group of anti-expansion protesters had lobbied outside the meeting, which was
moved to a larger building as 200 members of the public packed into Yeadon Civic
Hall for the hearing.

Coun Stuart Andrew (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) said: "This application is not
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."

Friends of the Earth representative Anthony Rae told the meeting that allowing the extension along with unchecked passenger
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.

He said: "This is proposing a huge expansion. We’ve looked at the transport assessments
and the important road junctions are already at capacity."

LeedsBradford International Airport’s head of engineering, facilities and projects,
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.

"This is not about a runway extension and not about the principle of growth,
which has already been established.

"It’s supported by a wide number of regional and local organisations that represent
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."

e-mail: newsdesk@

see also

Leeds Bradford Airport’s £70m expansion plan under threat in transport clash

17.4.2009   (Yorkshire Post)

By Joanne Ginley 

Ambitious plans to expand Leeds Bradford International Airport and attract millions
more passengers have been kicked into touch.

Leeds councillors had been advised to rubber-stamp the £28m terminal expansion
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.

Campaigners outside Leeds Civic Hall before the planning  meeting to discuss the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion scheme   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
way off.

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
bus use.

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

  • The first scheduled flights took off from what is now called Leeds Bradford International
    Airport in 1935.

  • Bridgepoint Capital bought the airport in 2007.

  • It plans to invest £70m over the next five years.

  • 2.9 million passengers passed through in 2008.

  • By 2016 the airport expects 5.1 million passengers a year

  • The airport employs about 2,200 people.


    There has been a  great campaign by FOE, Stop Climate Chaos, Leeds Tidal and quite
    a few more:     who succeeded in informing local   people, and getting  800 objections to  the airport
    plans  in just 2 months.

    Friends of the Earth have run a very effective email action  on the expansion:
    Stop regional airport growth at Leeds Bradford – (Friends of the Earth email action)   Leeds Bradford Airport has applied for planning permission to extend its terminal
    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.  




     Friends of the Earth briefings on the planning application: