Leeds Bradford Airport has scrapped plans to build a huge new terminal
Campaigners Against Airport Expansion Celebrate Success as LBA Withdraws its Planning Application
The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has responded to the news that LBA has withdrawn its controversial expansion plans.
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “This is a victory for our climate and our communities – we are delighted that LBA has acknowledged defeat. It means that LBA cannot extend daytime flying hours nor remove night time flying controls. As they said in their own planning application, this means they don’t have the capacity to increase passenger numbers above 5 million a year.”
“Make no mistake, this victory is down to the thousands of people who took action, donated funds and never gave up hope that we CAN make the right decisions today to build a better tomorrow. GALBA would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who has backed our campaign.”
He added: “We will keep a close eye on what the airport’s Australian owners do next. We will act again if they try to break any rules. We remain ready to continue the fight to protect our climate and communities. But for today, we’re celebrating success!”
1) Public inquiry – cancelled: the Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the public inquiry has been cancelled following LBA’s decision to withdraw its application to expand.
2) LBA’s Planning Application, Environmental Statement, Introduction, para 1.1.4:
“The Airport is forecast to continue to grow over the next decade reaching 7 million passengers per annum (mppa) by 2030, assuming that existing operational restrictions imposed by existing planning controls are amended through the current planning application”
Leeds Bradford Airport has scrapped plans to build a new £150m terminal.
Airport bosses said they had withdrawn proposals because of “excessive delays” and the decision to hold a public inquiry into the development.
They said they would now turn their attention to extending the existing terminal, plans for which were approved by Leeds City Council in 2019.
Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) said it was a “victory for climate and communities”.
The latest expansion plan for the airport had caused controversy since it was first outlined in 2020.
A planning application was approved by the council in March last year, despite objections by campaigners and local MPs.
The project would have seen existing buildings demolished to make way for the new 366,000 sq ft (34,000 sq m) three-storey terminal.
The airport had claimed the replacement building would be a more efficient and sustainable development, helping it to achieve its carbon net-zero goals by 2023.
Four million passengers journey through the airport annually and the business had already been granted permission to increase that to seven million over a 10-year period.
Protesters against the plans included climate scientists, residents’ groups and medical professionals.
They said the expansion would make it “impossible” for the city to meet its greenhouse gas emissions target and would cause harmful noise pollution for those living close by.
Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA), said it was “with regret” that the decision to pull the plans had been taken.
The airport said investment in the project had so far reached £4.2m and it was not prepared to “commit a further uncapped sum over an indefinite timeframe into a public inquiry process when their focus needs to be on modernising the airport for the future”.
Mr Hodder thanked people who had supported the plan, adding: “Whilst this is a setback for our airport and region, we remain committed to investing in LBA to be an outstanding, decarbonised, modern airport for the future.”
Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said calling in the application was a “perfectly legitimate” thing for the government to do.
“There are people that argue against it and people who argue in favour of it,” he said, adding that it was up to the airport if they had chosen not to proceed.
He said withdrawing the plans meant the airport could not “extend daytime flying hours nor remove night time flying controls”.
“As they said in their own planning application, this means they don’t have the capacity to increase passenger numbers above five million a year.”
Mr Foren said the group would be keeping “a close eye” on what the airport owners did next, adding: “We remain ready to continue the fight to protect our climate and communities. But for today, we’re celebrating success.”
Alex Sobel, Labour MP For Leeds North West said he was “pleased” the airport was not continuing with its application at public inquiry.
He said: “From the start this was always about increasing passenger numbers and carbon emissions not getting a new building.
“I hope the airport will enter discussions about reducing aviation emissions now.”
Leeds Bradford airport public inquiry to start 13th September – GALBA crowdfunding for £100,000 for the fight
On 19th January 2022, Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) granted GALBA’s request to hold a public inquiry into Leeds Bradford airport’s expansion plans. It will start on 13th September 2022. GALBA has gone into full-on preparation mode for fundraising. They hope to raise £100,000 through a crowdfunder, to pay for legal advice and experts to give evidence to the public inquiry. The planning inspectors will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State whether or not to allow the airport to expand. GALBA has described the public inquiry into LBA’s expansion plans as a ‘real life David vs Goliath battle’. Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “The airport is owned by an Australian based multinational corporation which can literally spend millions on lawyers if it wants to. GALBA is just a group of concerned citizens – no one is paid, everyone involved does it because they care deeply about our communities and our climate. So it will be a real life David vs Goliath battle at the inquiry. … the future of our planet depends on struggles like this – people power really can make a difference! If we all work together, we can build a better future for our children and grandchildren.”
Leeds Bradford Airport development plans at last to go to public inquiry – date unknown
Leeds Bradford airport Leeds Bradford submitted plans for new terminal building & more passengers (4m to 7m a year) in May 2020. There has been intense opposition to the plan, led by local opposition group, GALBA. In March 2021 the terminal plan was approved by Leeds City Council, but in April 2021 the government issued a direction to the Council, preventing councillors from granting the planning permission without special authorisation. There have been numerous requests for the application to be called in. Now it has been announced by the DLUHC – headed by Michael Gove – that the application will indeed go to a public inquiry – though the date is not yet decided. It is a triumph for the persistent pressure by opponents, managing to achieve this significant delay. The inquiry means the arguments against the expansion will be properly and fully heard. Some of the matters that Mr Gove “particularly wishes to be informed about” included the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with government policies for “protecting green belt land” and “meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change”. Airport expansion can only increase carbon emissions.