Leeds Bradford airport submits plans for new terminal building & more passengers (4m to 7m a year) despite Covid fall in demand.

The airport has submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council, to replace the current terminal building with a new one by 2023, to increase passenger numbers from 4 million a year to 7 million a year. Opponents to the plans say that will make the climate emergency “worse” and that the current pandemic means there’s “no need” for it. Local people, in Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) say the expansion will increase CO2 emissions, at a time when countries around the world are being urged to drastically then. It will also bring more noise for local communities, increased air pollution, and more traffic congestion. Instead “We need to rebuild a healthy economy in Leeds. We don’t need an unsustainable development like this.” Leeds City Council  declared a climate emergency in 2019, but conveniently does not include the CO2 emissions from the airport’s flights in its carbon budget. But the flights alone would exceed Leeds’ entire carbon budget by 2035. The airport is trying hard to persuade the Council that its expansion is needed, in competition with Manchester, and the (alleged) economic benefits it would bring would be huge. 



Campaigners think coronavirus should end plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport

“We don’t need an unsustainable development like this”

By Nathan Hyde (Leeds Live)

13th May 2020

Environmentalists have hit out at plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport and said it will make the climate emergency “worse” and that the current pandemic means there’s “no need” for it.

Airport bosses have submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council, as they look to replace the current terminal building with a new one by 2023, so they can increase passenger numbers from four million a year to seven million a year.

They say the new £150 million terminal will be one of the most environmentally efficient buildings in the world and they are looking to reduce emissions from airport operations (not including flights) to net zero by 2023.  [All airports try to con people into believing they are being “green” by making some carbon cuts in their buildings etc; but they ignore the extra carbon emissions from the additional flights the expansion permits. So this is disingenuous greenwash, to be treated with considerable scepticism. AW comment]

However, Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) claim the expansion will result in an increase in pollution, at a time when countries around the world are being urged to drastically reduce emissions.

Chris Foren, chair of the group, said: “Expansion would bring more noise for local communities, increased air pollution, more traffic congestion and pump much more CO2 into the atmosphere – making the climate emergency worse.

“We need to rebuild a healthy economy in Leeds. We don’t need an unsustainable development like this.”

He added: “Every aviation industry expert has said that demand for air travel will remain low for several years.

‘There’s simply no need to expand the airport’

“Naturally, people won’t want to risk being in an enclosed space – breathing other people’s air – until coronavirus is long gone. There’s simply no need to expand the airport.”

In recent years, Leeds City Council has also been criticised for facilitating the expansion by building a new train station, even though it has declared a climate emergency.

It wants to build the station on the Leeds to Harrogate line by 2023 and construct a 350-space car park and park and ride facilities, as well as a spur road that links the station and the airport.

But last year, climate scientists from University of Leeds told the council the expansion will result in a dramatic increase in harmful emissions.

Aviation emissions have not be factored into the carbon reduction targets set by Leeds City Council, which has promised to ensure Leeds emits no more than 42 megatonnes of CO2 from all sources, between 2018 and 2050.

This is known as Leeds’ ‘carbon budget’.

But the climate scientists found that the flights alone would exceed Leeds’ entire carbon budget by 2035, even if all other sources of carbon emissions in the city had been shut down in 2018.

In the plans for the new terminal, the airport bosses say these proposals “represent a key opportunity in securing an environmentally sustainable future for the airport.”

They add: “In the alternative, doing nothing will fail to achieve the economic potential of the airport and will not respond to the environmental agenda set by Leeds’ climate emergency.

“Business passengers and the local economy will suffer, and unsustainable leakage will remain.”



New photos show £150M Leeds Bradford Airport expansion plans in bid to battle Manchester

By Alex Evans (Yorkshire Evening Post)

13th May 2020

The overhaul is one step closer to being built after the plans were submitted to Leeds Council.

The new ‘state of the art’ terminal being built on the site will include three main floors and improved vehicle access and the new site will be closer to a proposed parkway rail station, announced by Leeds City Council last year.

It is hoped that work would be able to start on construction of the site by the end of this year, and for the new terminal to be up and running by 2023.

The application states that the ‘dated’ current terminal is ‘inefficient’ and that LBA risks continuing to lose passengers to nearby Manchester Airport in an ‘unsustainable’ way unless the improvements are approved.

It says: “There are clear environmental benefits in improving the existing infrastructure at the Airport.

“The current terminal is aged and has been the subject of a series of extensions since it was first built in the 1960s, which has resulted in a dated, and inefficient operation, which compromises its environmental integrity.

“Opportunities to improve the existing terminal’s environmental performance are limited.

“In contrast, replacing the terminal building with a new “state of the art” building, capable of meeting the needs of the modern day passenger and designed to an exemplary environmental standard, will create strong foundations for a highly sustainable future of the Airport.

“In summary, it is demonstrated in the application that there is a clear need to improve the Airport’s operations, both from an economic and environmental perspective.”

The application states that the airport is expecting seven million passengers per year by 2030 – but that it wouldn’t be possible without the overhaul.

It added: “Whilst the existing terminal, as well as the recently consented extension to it, could accommodate some of this growth, it is operationally compromised and would not be able to deliver the quality of passenger environment presented by the new terminal, nor would it provide the environment to attract new airlines.

The planning application went on to state that the developments would add £400M a year to Leeds and the surrounding area, and ‘support’ nearly 9,000 jobs.  [Airports always put out claims of immense economic benefit, loads of jobs… these are highly dubious, and the reality is far, far lower. Most passengers will be British people flying abroad on leisure journeys, taking their spending money out of the UK, contributing to the UK’s vast tourism deficit, which is of the order of £18billion or more per year. AW comment] 
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It said: “It is estimated that the proposals, which would enable the Airport to accommodate 7 million passengers per annum by 2030, will result in a growth in Region’s GVA of almost £400m. In the same period, it is estimated that the total number of jobs supported by the Airport in the City Region, will also grow by over 6,000 to 15,600 jobs (12,650 FTEs).

The threat of Manchester Airport was also put forward as part of the application, which said: “The Airport operates in a highly competitive environment, and despite being located within the fourth largest metropolitan area within the UK, it is only the tenth largest regional airport in the UK.

“Moreso…there is a major competitive effect exerted on the Leeds City Region by Manchester Airport, and as a consequence a significant flow of passengers from the Leeds City Region to Manchester Airport. It is demonstrated in the Planning Report that this level of passenger leakage is neither sustainable from an environmental perspective, nor an economic perspective.”

The applicants appeared to challenge Leeds Council to show that any issues raised by the development would outweigh its benefits, stating: “It is the Applicant’s case, supported by the evidence in the planning application that the proposals accord with the relevant policies of the Development Plan

“If, however, this is not accepted, any adverse impacts would have to be significant to demonstrably outweigh the benefits of this scheme, which, for the reasons outlined in this report, are substantial.”

There was one objection included in the planning application, from a resident of Adel.

She said: “I live on the airport flight path and feel that the extended flying hours will be detrimental to my family and others in the same situation.

“I also feel that extending the car parking will also increase road traffic on the area further inconveniencing local residents. We have no available public transport to get to the airport. I would like to suggest that one of our buses such as the numbers 1, 6 and 84 could be diverted or extended to the airport.

“These could also be used by people travelling from the city centre thereby reducing road traffic especially on Otley Road and Otley Old Road. It would cost nothing unlike the proposed rail line and connecting roads.”


The Council’s planning documents for the application:



Consultees have been given 3 weeks to comment: https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=dates&keyVal=Q9SM3LJBKXX00


Application ValidatedMon 04 May 2020
AddressLeeds And Bradford Airport Whitehouse Lane Yeadon Leeds LS19 7TZ
ProposalAdjustments to the existing “airside” apron including demolition of existing passenger pier and ancillary accommodation, earthworks and site remodelling at the existing eastern parcel of the Airport apron to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area;
A new terminal building and passenger piers;
Construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant;
Relocation and extension of existing fuel storage tanks;
Hard and soft landscaping including biodiversity works;
Associated infrastructure/utilities, including drainage;
Reconfiguration of existing car parking, and new car parking provision in the vicinity of the Viking Car Park. The provision for a new meet and greet building and separate parking inspection building.
Additional car parking above the existing provision on site will only be provided if future assessments show there is a need. Additional car parking over the existing level would be phased and its delivery would be controlled through a planning review mechanism;
New and modified vehicular (and pedestrian/cycle) access from Whitehouse Lane, including improved access for bus and coach to the new terminal building;
New bus terminal and taxi drop off facilities to the front of the new passenger terminal; and
Modifications to flight time controls to reflect current noise guidance, and to extend the daytime flight period


Airport says on noise:

“Changes to Daytime Flight Controls 
 The Airport is currently allowed to operate night-time flights, subject to certain restrictions that apply between 2300 – 0700 hrs. In order to meet passenger needs, improve flight connections from the Airport and support growth at the Airport to 7mppa by 2030, the Applicant proposes amendments to the flight time controls currently in place.
 The current daytime flight regime would be extended from 0700 – 2300 to 0600 – 2330. This would be done using an annual noise budget (or noise quota system) during the period of 2330 – 0600 (local), the ‘night quota period’. For the night quota period, it is proposed that aircraft are restricted based on their noise output and number through the setting of an annual noise quota.
 The Applicant also proposes a ‘night noise contour restriction’ which has been informed by the findings of the ES and would limit the total amount of noise that can be generated by the Airport during the period 2300 – 0700 (local). The night noise contour restriction is proposed as the area where night-time noise would meet 45 decibels and will extend to 56.2 km2.
 The Airport’s use and noise performance against the noise quota and night time noise contour restriction will be reported annually. Together, the night noise quota and noise contour restriction are referred to as a ‘Night Noise Envelope’. The Applicant will also put in place a noise insulation scheme for those most affected by aircraft noise which will include financial contributions towards the costs of sound insulation, such as glazing and roof insulation.”
….. For night-time periods the assessment has identified that a greater population would be exposed to levels above a level referred to as Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level (SOAEL) (which is the level above which significant adverse effects on health and quality of life occur) than without the Development. However, with implementation of a noise insulation scheme, these effects can be reduced to a level that is considered not significant “

See earlier:

Leeds Bradford Airport expansion could now be in doubt – if the landmark Heathrow climate case can be used against it

The ruling on Heathrow’s 3rd runway on 27th February, by the Court of Appeal, put the scheme seriously in doubt – on the grounds of its carbon emissions. The DfT had decided not to take proper account of the extra carbon emissions, in relation to the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, when it produced the Airports National Policy Statement . The ruling is ground-breaking, because it sets a global precedent that can now be used to challenge other developments which damage the environment. The expansion plans of Leeds Bradford would result in a possible increase in passengers from about 4 million per year now to about 7 million. This means the plans are not considered large enough to require the National Policy Statement and DCO route. Instead the application goes through the usual planning process. So the Heathrow ruling may not have a direct bearing on this case, though the principle of the need to properly account for carbon emissions from new developments, may be used to argue against it if it went to appeal. Leeds has declared a climate emergency, and its local Citizens’ Assembly resolved that the airport should not expand, due to its carbon emissions.

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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.”

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‘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.

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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.

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