Leeds Bradford Airport: Scientists object to expansion plans which will increase CO2 emissions
Date added: July 22, 2020
A group of five climate scientists have objected to Leeds Bradford airport’s expansion plans as they make it “impossible” for Leeds to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target. The airport wants to build a new terminal, but this would mean more flights and more passengers, and so more carbon emissions. The scientists said the expanded airport’s greenhouse gas emissions would be higher than the emissions allowed for the whole of Leeds in 10 years’ time. The airport could cause the emission of 1,227 kilotonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, compared to 1,020 kilotonnes allowed for the whole of Leeds in 2030. One of those objecting is Prof Julia Steinberger, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which advises the United Nations. The IPCC has warned that restricting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels will require “rapid and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. The scientists say expansion would just represent “business as usual” and lock in higher CO2 emissions. If similar developments were replicated around the world, it would lock us into catastrophic climate change, which highlights that the proposed development is not only highly harmful but also unfair.” . Tweet
Leeds Bradford Airport: Scientists object to expansion plans
20 July 2020 (BBC)
Climate scientists have objected to an airport’s expansion plans and said they make it “impossible” for a city to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target.
Leeds Bradford Airport wants to demolish its terminal and replace it with a new one costing up to £150m.
But the scientists from the University of Leeds say the proposed expansion would “make it impossible for Leeds to meet its net zero target” in 2030.
Airport bosses said they took environmental concerns very seriously.
The group of scientists said the expanded airport’s greenhouse gas emissions would be higher than the emissions allowed for the whole of Leeds in 10 years’ time.
One of those objecting is Prof Julia Steinberger, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which advises the United Nations.
A document Prof Steinberger co-authored says: “The university experts calculate that if the airport expands, it would create 1,227 kilotonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.
“That’s more than the maximum of 1,020 kilotonnes allowed for the whole of Leeds in 2030, based on Leeds City Council’s own carbon reduction targets.”
The scientists have now lodged an objection to the plan for the three-storey terminal.
In a statement Leeds Bradford Airport said: “We welcome all feedback on the proposed development and understand the environmental concerns that have been expressed and take them very seriously.
“The proposed replacement terminal has been specifically designed to be one of the most sustainable airport buildings in the UK and we have been very clear in our proposals in how we will reduce risk of increased emissions and meet demand for seven million passengers in a more sustainable way than our previously consented scheme.”
The terminal currently has about four million passengers annually but the airport hopes to increase numbers to seven million over 10 years.
Objection to LBA planning application, ref: 20-02559-FU with particular reference to ES Volume 1 chapter 7: Climate Change
Professor Julia K. Steinberger 1,2 Professor Paul Chatterton 3 Dr Declan Finney 2 Jefim Vogel 2 , MSc
1 = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2 = University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment 3 = University of Leeds, School of Geography
The response states:
e. The UN IPCC has warned that restricting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels will require “rapid and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
i. The proposed development is the opposite of that. It represents business as usual, and would lock in emissions that would make it impossible to meet emissions targets in line with limiting global warming to 1.5C.
f. There is unmistakable evidence that the proposed development would
i. have a very significant negative impact on the UK’s ability to reach net zero by 2050
ii. make it impossible for Leeds to reach net zero by 2030, or even by 2050
iii. escalate the risk that future generations will not be able to meet their needs.
If similar developments were replicated around the world, it would lock us into catastrophic climate change, which highlights that the proposed development is not only highly harmful but also unfair.
g. Based on our assessment, the proposed development should be rejected.
Natural England says Leeds Bradford Airport expansion should not be approved – necessary details have not been provided
July 13, 2020
The government’s environment adviser, Natural England, says Leeds City Council should not approve controversial plans for the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion, unless further evidence on the potential impacts is provided. Natural England states the airport’s planning application lacks detail and “there is currently not enough information to rule out the likelihood of significant effects” on the environment. It has asked the airport to provide additional information, so the council can asses the impact the new £150 million terminal would have on air quality, local wildlife and protected landscapes. Natural England therefore advises Leeds City Council that it should not grant planning permission at this stage. The airport wants to increase passengers numbers from 4 million to 7 million a year. Climate scientists, environmentalists, The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) and four Leeds MPs are also calling on the council to reject the new plans. GALBA, said the airport has not bothered to assess the damage that their expansion plans would do to wildlife and nature.
Leeds Bradford Airport CEO says the plan is about modernising not expanding
June 19, 2020
Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) has been planning to expand, building a new terminal that would allow more annual flights and passengers – and thus more CO2 and more noise. The plans have been fiercely opposed. Now, with the airport effectively closed for months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the chief executive has written that the plans are not about expanding. He says the building plans are to improve and modernise the terminal, and “LBA is not expanding because we are not proposing to grow beyond the airport’s existing consented capacity limit of 7 million passengers. Our present limit is already 7m passengers and LBA is not proposing to increase that limit.” He claims planes are now so (allegedly) “quiet” that tight noise restrictions are not as relevant as years ago. There is the usual stuff about the airport aiming to be carbon net zero by 2023 – which is lovely, though it excludes the carbon from flights, making it somewhat irrelevant. The CEO comes out with all the usual industry platitudes about “clean” planes, and “sustainable” fuels, and future electric planes … none of which mean much. And cycle routes to the airport …
Leeds Bradford airport submits plans for new terminal building & more passengers (4m to 7m a year) despite Covid fall in demand.
May 14, 2020
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. Will it be able to afford £150 million, now there is the Covid fall in demand?