FAQs

Leeds Bradford Airport has a lot of money and a big PR machine to try to tell the story it wants people to believe. So we have to work extra-hard to make sure people know the truth. These are some of the questions we are asked most frequently. We hope these answers will help explain what is really going on!

Did LBA break the rules on night time flying in summer 2022 - and 2023?

Yes. There’s a limit on the number of planes allowed to land and take-off during the night, which is defined as 11pm to 7am. During summer 2022, there were 747 more flights than allowed by the rules. GALBA monitored the number of night flights and complained to the Council who issued a ‘planning enforcement notice’ against LBA.

GALBA continued to monitor night time flying in 2023 and found that LBA had broken the rules again. We have complained to the Council and are waiting for their decision. You can find out more on out Night Flights campaign page.

Is GALBA taking the government to court?

Yes. The government’s Jet Zero Strategy, published in July 2022, allows a huge expansion of flying and airports across the country. That means a massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions, noise and air pollution.

That’s why GALBA is taking a judicial review challenge against Jet Zero in the High Court. You can read more on our Jet Zero campaign page.

Did LBA make a planning application in 2020, asking the council to allow more flights?

Yes. In 2020, LBA asked for permission to extend daytime flying by 90 minutes and to remove the cap on the number of flights allowed at night. They also wanted to build a new passenger terminal.

What happened to that application?

Despite having declared a climate emergency, the council approved LBA’s application. But we didn’t give up! We asked the government to hold a public inquiry into the council’s decision. In March 2022, the government agreed and the very next day, LBA’s boss announced he was withdrawing the planning application. This was a victory for local communities and the planet – and it was won by people power!

Don't LBA’s bosses say they are able to expand anyway? ​

Withdrawing their 2020 planning application was humiliating for them so they needed something to tell the press. There are legal and practical reasons why LBA cannot expand to seven million passengers per year. Find out more about 7 million passenger myth!

Why did you buy a house near an airport, it's been there longer than you have?

Let’s turn this around.

Why did the owners of Leeds Bradford Airport buy an airport with night flight restrictions?

They were fully aware of the restrictions when they bought the airport. If they wanted an airport with unlimited night flying, they should have bought one.

The current owners bought the airport in 2017. They are the ones trying to introduce more night flights. Most neighbours who are affected by night noise have been in their houses longer than that.

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Why do you want to stop people going on holiday?

We don’t. Over three quarters of people in the UK either don’t fly at all or fly only once a year. The main problem is the small number of frequent flyers. Just 10% of people in England were responsible for more than half of all international flights in 2018.

Why do you want to stop people getting jobs? ​

We don’t. We want people who work in aviation to get help to move into safe and sustainable jobs – jobs with a future for the future. LBA wants to automate as many jobs as possible because machines are cheaper than people, so they make more money for the airport’s owners.

To avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis, we have to help workers move out of high carbon industries and into good quality jobs that tackle climate change and cut energy bills – like super-insulating peoples’ homes.

My airline says I can buy offsets so I don't need to worry about emissions?

Offsetting means paying someone to reduce emissions for you, by planting trees to soak up carbon. It’s like paying someone else to go to the gym for you and it will not solve the climate emergency. Scientists warn that we have to reduce our emissions as fast and as much as we possibly can as well as planting trees.

The picture that airlines would like to paint is of a guilt-free flight from London to Tenerife because the 860kg per person of climate damaging carbon emitted would be drawn down by extra trees being planted in countries far away. But, assuming the trees survive, it would take decades for them to absorb 860kg of carbon.

Until they do, that extra carbon remains in the atmosphere and heats up the planet. And we have to cut all emissions in half by 2030 to prevent climate breakdown.

What about electric planes and other new technologies?

The government’s own Climate Change Committee has stated that there are no prospects of commercially available, medium or long haul, zero-carbon planes for decades. While there is some scope for technological change, there’s no prospect of this becoming widely adopted across the aviation sector in the medium term future.

Even if planes with new technologies became viable in the next decade, it would take many years for existing fleets of aircraft to transition to these new technologies. To prevent climate breakdown, we need to make radical reductions in emissions during the next decade. You can read more on our greenwashing page.

What do the people of Leeds think about expanding LBA?

The Leeds Climate Change Citizens Jury was a group of 21 local residents – a representative sample of Leeds as a whole – who met in autumn 2019. Most of them knew little about the climate emergency or airport expansion at the start.

After attending sessions with scientists, one of the Jury’s key recommendations was that airport expansion should be stopped. They called on Leeds to lead an ‘environmental revolution’.

Leeds Bradford Airport is big enough already