Most of the protesters outside Leeds Civic Hall held up signs in a bid to draw attention to their campaign – but a few individuals locked themselves to a metal fence by clipping bright green bike locks tightly around their necks.
The keys have been handed over to decision-makers at Leeds City Council, with the protesters hoping to put their views forward and convince them to scrap the planned £150 million expansion.
Several other campaigners also forced a council meeting to be abandoned by staging a “die-in” protest at Leeds Civic Hall, while others disrupted proceedings by reading a passionate plea to cancel the plans.
Extinction Rebellion member Katie Ritchie-Moulin is one of the campaigners to have chained themselves to the fence.
She told LeedsLive: “We’ve given the keys to councillors and we’re waiting for them to come and unlock us.
“It was planned at a meeting. We had a discussion about things we could do to try and get the council to realise how serious this issue is. It’s a really serious problem.”
The 20-year-old University of Leeds student said chaining themselves to the railings could be seen as drastic, but added that going ahead with the expansion plans would be “pretty drastic too”.
“There’s been the Climate Jury in Leeds, and one of their key points is that the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion is totally incompatible with emissions targets.
“We’re just trying to alert them to how important this issue is to the people of Leeds.”
Katie, who studies medical science, joined Extinction Rebellion last September and today chained herself to the railings today with three other members.
“We’re just sitting and waiting,” she said. “The meeting has been adjourned so the councillors are leaving – hopefully, they will come out soon. It’s very cold.
“We’re going to stay here and hopefully they will come and speak to us. They serve the people of Leeds so to leave four of them out in the cold feels a bit harsh.”
Liz Pell, 30, said: “As one person get removed from the meeting, another stood up and carried on the reading. There were about 10 people taking part by the end.
“Some protesters then did a ‘die-in’ protest in front of where all the seats are.
The meeting has been adjourned and it is not yet clear whether it will continue today.
Leeds Bradford Airport has recently announced ambitious plans to build a brand new £150 million terminal at its Yeadon base to replace the existing 1960s building.
There are also proposals to relax night-time flying restrictions, which bosses say places the Yorkshire airport “at a competitive and economic disadvantage”.
The two key decisions – which are aimed at boosting passenger numbers to seven million a year by 2030 – will be presented to councillors at a Plans Panel meeting this afternoon (Thursday), who will scrutinise the plans.
Climate change campaigners say the controversial expansion of the airport is at odds with the council’s ambitious proposals to become carbon neutral by 2030.
In November 2019, the Leeds Climate Change Citizens’ Jury came up with a list of 12 key recommendations, which included a plea to scrap any expansion plans at the airport.
Scientists at the University of Leeds have also told the council that the expansion would be “entirely at odds with any serious attempt” to tackle climate change.
A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford Airport said plane technology is constantly improving and becoming more greener. They have also pointed to the fact that the new terminal would be one of the most environmentally friendly airport buildings in the entire world if given approval.