Leeds Bradford Airport terminal recommended for final approval – but old building could remain standing
A new document has shown Leeds Bradford Airport may not be able to demolish its old terminal building if/when a replacement is built, as it contains much of the site’s crucial infrastructure. As part of a Leeds City Council’s recent in-principle acceptance of the rebuild last month, members wanted the ageing terminal building to be demolished as soon as possible once the new one was built. But a document set to go before the panel next week claims the airport cannot do this, as it currently contains the airport’s air traffic control tower, fire station, IT, communications, security, safety and mechanical infrastructure These are needed for the airport to maintain its aerodrome licence, but the airport says it has committed to creating a “masterplan” to get rid of the site in the longer term. The report, set to go before the Council’s plans panel on 11th March. It said: “The existing terminal will not be used by passengers which is restricted in the proposed (planning) agreement….[it] houses some of the Airports critical operations…” The airport’s management offices are also included in the terminal building, as well as Jet2’s staff offices.
Leeds Bradford Airport terminal recommended for final approval – but old building could remain standing
March 7, 2021 (West Leeds Dispatch)
By Richard Beecham Local Democracy Reporter & John Baron
A new document has revealed Leeds Bradford Airport may not be able to demolish its old terminal building once a replacement is built, as it contains much of the site’s crucial infrastructure.
As part of a Leeds City Council plans panel’s in-principle acceptance of the £150m rebuild last month, members wanted the ageing terminal building to be demolished as soon as possible once the new one was built.
But a document set to go before the panel next week claims the airport is unable to do this, as it currently contains the air traffic control tower, fire station and computer systems.
Leeds City Council planning officers say these are needed for the airport to maintain its aerodrome licence, but adds that the airport has committed to creating a “masterplan” to get rid of the site in the longer term.
It also said the airport wanted to introduce extended flight times before the building of the new terminal was finished, despite the insistence of plans panel members to only allow extra flights once the new facility was built.
The report, set to go before the panel next Thursday, said:
“The applicant has committed to all of the airport’s operations being net zero by the time the new terminal building is open to passengers. This net zero carbon commitment does already include the existing terminal building and the existing terminal building has been included in the calculations.
“The applicant wishes to redevelop the existing terminal as soon as practicable upon completion of the replacement terminal. The existing terminal will not be used by passengers which is restricted in the proposed (planning) agreement.
“The existing terminal building houses some of the Airports critical operations and will need to remain operational, as they are not included in the new terminal building and are integral in order for LBA to operate safely and maintain its aerodrome licence.”
It listed the airport’s air traffic control tower, fire station; and IT, communications, security, safety and mechanical infrastructure that would still serve the airport until such a masterplan was produced.
The airport’s management offices are also included in the terminal building, as well as Jet2’s staff offices.
It added that the airport would still be prepared to commit to the demolition of the check in Hall B, the Jet2 baggage hall and passenger handling facilities within six months of the new terminal’s opening – but this makes up only a fifth of the original terminal building.
“The remainder of the building was constructed as a single building unit, making it difficult for partial demolition, whilst retaining the above operations, utilities and uses.
“However, in order to address any future concerns, the applicant has committed to work closely with the City Council on a master planning exercise regarding the existing terminal building and the surrounding part of LBA’s estate which may include a programme for the progressive de-commissioning and demolition for the remainder of the existing terminal.”
The airport also wants permission to increase flight times before the completion of the new terminal, despite councillors’ insistence that the new times only be introduced once it had been finished. Members of the panel had been concerned that granting extended flight times straight away could lead to the airport taking advantage of them without building the new eco-friendly terminal.
As part of the building plans, new flight time controls were included to extend the daytime flight period, as well as a likely increase from five to 17 flights between 6am and 7am.
The airport now appears to have offered a compromise to the council, agreeing to only introduce the new flight times one year into the two year building project.
The report stated:
“The applicant recognise and respect members request that they do not wish for the new flight controls to be introduce without the guarantee of the delivery of the benefits of the new terminal.
“However, it is necessary for the flight regime to be introduced during the construction of the new terminal, given that the construction is expected to take 24 months and the airport needs to negotiate and confirm new route contracts in advance of opening.
“Developing and negotiating new routes is a complex process including evaluation of new routes, allocation of potential aircraft, marketing of routes and lead time for the new route to be marketed and on sale before it becomes operational. It is therefore important for the applicant to have some flexibility in the delivery of the new routes, as the replacement terminal is under construction.”
Council planning officers have recommended the proposals be accepted, provided the applicant was willing to fund off-site tree planting worth £30,000.
The planning officer’s report also recommends that a raft of further planning conditions attached to the development are approved.
After planning permission was granted in principle subject to planning conditions being approved, Andy Clarke, chairman of Leeds Bradford Airport, said:
“We thank the Plans Panel for all their diligent considerations and we are delighted with their support in principle.
“If fully approved, our scheme would enable us to become a net zero airport, delivering a much-improved passenger experience and creating thousands of jobs, helping to support our region’s recovery.
“We look forward to working with officers and hearing the final decision of the committee in due course.”
Members of the panel are set to discuss the report on Thursday, March 11.
Open letter from 246 University of Leeds academics, to Robert Jenrick, asking him to “call in” the Leeds Bradford decision
246 University of Leeds staff (including 46 professors and associate professors) ,and postgraduate researchers have signed an open letter, asking Robert Jenrick (Sec of State) to ‘call in’ the decision on Leeds Bradford Airport. The government should take responsibility for the decision, which is of national importance because of the increased carbon emissions and their impact on UK carbon commitments. The academics say expanding LBA’s passenger numbers by 75% exceeds the maximum rate of growth that the Climate Change Committee considers compatible with the UK’s legally adopted net-zero target. It would make it much more difficult – and more costly – for the UK to achieve its climate targets and would require reductions in passenger numbers elsewhere in the UK. “In the year that the UK is hosting the COP26 conference, it is vital that we show leadership on climate change and take the necessary actions to secure a safe, zero-carbon future. We therefore urge you [Robert Jenrick] to call in this application so that the issues highlighted are considered in light of national and international climate targets and associated guidance.” The alleged economic benefits of the expansion, or jobs created, would be unlikely to materialise.
Government should call in Leeds Bradford airport expansion plans, due to climate impact
The government is under growing pressure to halt a proposed expansion of Leeds Bradford airport, which critics say would wreck efforts to tackle the climate and ecological crisis and undermine the government’s credibility ahead of the COP in Glasgow in November. The expansion would allow an increase in passengers from 4 to 7 million per year by 2030. It was recently given conditional approval by Leeds city council despite widespread opposition from local MPs, councils, residents and environmental groups. Lawyers have written to Sec of State Robert Jenrick asking for the decision to be “called in.” A Leeds University climate scientist, Jefim Vogel, says the airport expansion would only benefit “relatively few people”, and would contribute towards a global climate catastrophe. The Leeds Council decision illustrated how many councillors don’t fully comprehend the severity and urgency of the global climate situation. Jefim told councillors: “If we allow the climate crisis to escalate, it will make the COVID crisis look like a bed of roses. The climate crisis stands above short-term economics. Millions of lives and livelihoods and the safety of human civilisation are at risk.” The emissions from flights using the expanded airport would dwarf those of the rest of the city.
GALBA has written to Sec of State, Robert Jenrick, asking that the Leeds Bradford airport application is “called in”
On 11 February, Leeds City Council (LCC) provisionally approved a planning application to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), despite the Council having declared a climate emergency in March 2019. Now anti-airport expansion campaign, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), has written – through their Barrister, Estelle Dehon – to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State at DCLG, asking him to ‘call in’ the decision on LBA. If he agrees, the airport’s planning application will be dealt with at a public inquiry. GALBA believes that LBA expansion is the aviation equivalent of the Cumbria coal mine case. There are striking similarities: a local authority decision which would result in significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions and which flatly contradicts the latest advice to government from the Committee on Climate Change in the 6th Carbon Budget. One of the key reasons that Leeds councillors felt able to support airport expansion is because their planning officers told them that international aviation emissions are not a matter for local authorities to consider in the planning process. GALBA believes that is legally incorrect and reserves the option of challenging LCC in the courts. The planned expansion raises the type of issues where consideration at national level, by the Secretary of State, is required.”
Leeds City Council approves Leeds Bradford airport plans for new terminal (ie. more passengers, more carbon, more noise)
Leeds City Council has approved (subject to additional conditions still to be negotiated) Leeds Bradford Airport’s plans for a larger terminal to accommodate more passengers. This decision will entrench in the Leeds economy the growth of a carbon intensive industry. There is no certainty that the promised jobs will actually materialise, as the sector increasingly automates work. Objectors including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would help facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable levels of noise pollution for those living close by. The application sought to demolish the existing passenger pier to accommodate a new terminal building and forecourt area. This would also include the construction of supporting infrastructure, goods yard and mechanical electrical plant. There are also plans to modify flight time controls, and to reduce the night-time flight period, with a likely increase from 5 to 17 flights between 6am and 7am. A professor of transport planning said there are inadequate contributions to road and rail infrastructure. Local group GALBA says there could still be a legal decision against the proposals.