Natural England says Leeds Bradford Airport expansion should not be approved – necessary details have not been provided
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.
Government’s environment adviser says Leeds Bradford Airport expansion should not be approved
Natural England said there is “not enough information to rule out the likelihood of significant effects” on the environment
8th July 2020 (Leeds Live)
The government’s environment adviser 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 is also calling on airport bosses 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’s report states: “There is currently not enough information to rule out the likelihood of significant effects.
“Natural England therefore advises that your authority should not grant planning permission at this stage.
“In addition, uncertainties remain relating to effects that may become significant when considered in combination with other plans or projects
“Natural England advises that additional information should be submitted by the applicant in order for your authority to fully assess the proposal.
“This would then provide an opportunity for your authority to repeat your screening to assess the likelihood of significant effects of the project.”
Airport bosses want permission to build a £150 million terminal by 2023, as they look to replace the run-down terminal building and increase passengers numbers from four million a year to seven 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.
Hywel Rees, chief executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, insists the airport “is not actually expanding” and says it was given permission to increase passenger numbers to seven million a year when Leeds City Council approved plans to extend the existing airport terminal in January 2019.
However, a report published by the council’s chief planning officer says those approved plans for a terminal extension “allowed for the expansion of passengers to five million per year by the year 2023.”
‘LBA haven’t bothered to assess the damage’
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “Natural England have basically said that Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) haven’t bothered to assess the damage that their expansion plans would do to wildlife and nature.
“When you read the report, it’s full of polite but firm requests for LBA to go away and re-write their planning application.
“LBA’s Australian owners, AMP Capital, have tried to present the application as being all about a new ‘green’ terminal building. But it isn’t.
“They want to extend daytime flying hours and allow more planes to fly at night. The least they could is to properly assess the harm that all those extra flights would cause.”
He added: “The current terminal building accounts for just 1.3 per cent of LBA’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“93 per cent come from planes using the airport and AMP Capital want a massive increase in the number of flights. That would be disastrous for the climate and very bad for the local countryside.”
‘A strong long-term commitment to significantly reduce emissions’
However, Mr Rees claims the new terminal will be one of the most sustainable airport buildings in the UK and building it will lead to a long-term reduction in carbon emissions.
He said: “The submission of these plans embodies a strong long-term commitment at LBA to significantly reduce emissions in the UK aviation sector and the wider Yorkshire region.
“As technology in aviation improves, we must be ready to host the next generation of flying from a contemporary terminal facility.
He added: “In the last five years LBA has reduced its airport emissions by 45 per cent while passenger numbers increased by 24 per cent.
“This is a clear indicator that we take our responsibilities seriously.
“Increasing passenger numbers does not mean an equivalent increase in flights and we expect to only see an increase in aircraft arrivals and departures from 30,000 to 46,000 per annum, meaning we meet the demand for seven million passengers in a more efficient way.
“That, coupled with our clear desire to work with airlines to bring in the most efficient and sustainable aircraft and fuels show how we are actively mitigating against this increase.
“I understand that people will be concerned about what increasing numbers of passengers means, but we have taken every step to ensure there is minimal impact on emissions, noise and road access.”
Leeds Bradford Airport CEO says the plan is about modernising not expanding
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.
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?
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.