Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Has LBA withdrawn its planning application?
A) Yes. On 10 March 2022, the Chief Exec announced he had withdrawn LBA’s planning application.
Q) What does this mean?
A) This means the airport cannot start unrestricted flying at 6am, nor carry on till 11.30 pm, nor remove the limit on the number of night time flights. These are all changes that LBA wanted in order to allow them to make 16,000 more flights per year. This cannot happen now because the existing rules on daytime and night time flying will stay in place. This is a victory for our climate and our communities and it was won by people power!
Q) So is it all over now?
A) Not yet. LBA’s bosses have claimed they can still increase the number of day and night time flights. So we're keeping a close eye on what they try next. We will continue the campaign and get legal advice that will incur costs. We will also continue working with other campaigns in the UK aiming to limit airport expansion, as well as supporting legal moves to ensure the government takes its climate commitments seriously by not allowing unrestricted aviation growth.
Q) Why shouldn’t I believe what LBA’s bosses say about being able to expand anyway?
A) Withdrawing their 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 7 million passengers per year. See more on our mythbuster pages.
Q) But didn’t Leeds City Council give permission for LBA to expand?
A)Yes. Despite having declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019, in March 2021 Leeds City Council approved Leeds Bradford Airport’s planning application. But GALBA kept campaigning and LBA has now accepted defeat.
Q) Which councillors voted to allow LBA expansion?
A) Nine councillors supported LBA - five Labour, three Conservatives and one Independent. They were:
Jim McKenna, Labour, Armley James.McKenna@leeds.gov.uk, @JamesMc41033037
Peter Gruen, Labour, Cross Gates & Whinmoor Peter.Gruen@leeds.gov.uk, @CllrPeterGruen
Caroline Gruen, Labour Bramley & Stanningley Caroline.Gruen@leeds.gov.uk, @CllrCarolineG
Asghar Khan, Labour, Burmantofts & Richmond Hill Asghar.Khan@leeds.gov.uk, @asgharlab
Liz Nash, Labour, Hunslet & Riverside email@example.com, not on Twitter
Dan Cohen, Consersative, Alwoodley Daniel.Cohen@leeds.gov.uk, @cllr_dan_cohen
Graham Latty, Consersative, Guiseley & Rawdon Graham.Latty@leeds.gov.uk, @cllrGrahamLatty
Paul Wadsworth, Consersative, Guiseley & Rawdon Paul.Wadsworth@leeds.gov.uk, not on Twitter
Robert Finnigan, Morley Independents, Morley North firstname.lastname@example.org, not on Twitter
Q) Which councillors voted to stop LBA expansion?
A) Five councillors opposed LBA - three Labour, one Liberal Democrat and one Green. They were:
Neil Walshaw, Labour, Headingley & Hyde Park Neil.Walshaw@leeds.gov.uk, @CllrWalshaw
Al Garthwaite, Labour, Headingley & Hyde Park Al.Garthwaite@leeds.gov.uk, @al_garthwaite
Peter Carlill, Labour, Calverley & Farsley Peter.Carlill@leeds.gov.uk, @petercarlill
Colin Campbell, Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon Colin.Campbell@leeds.gov.uk, @OYLibDems
David Blackburn, Green, Farnley & Wortley Cllr.David.Blackburn@leeds.gov.uk, not on Twitter
Q) What does LBA want?
A) LBA is owned by an Australian investment company called AMP Capital. They wanted to expand LBA from four million to seven million passengers per year. To do this, they had asked for permission to:
Extend daytime flying hours to start at 06:00 and finish at 23:30
Allow an unlimited number of flights between 06:00 and 23:30
Permit noisier planes to take off and remove the cap on the total number of planes between 23:30 and 06:00
Build new car parks and a new terminal for additional passengers
But all those requests have been withdrawn now.
Q) Why does GALBA oppose the expansion of LBA?
A) Expansion would mean that LBA massively increases its greenhouse gas emissions in the middle of the climate crisis. It would cause much more noise for communities under the flight path, as well as increased air pollution and traffic congestion near the airport. We need to rebuild a healthy economy in Leeds. We don’t need an unsustainable development like this. Read more here and please make a donation today
Q) Hasn’t the Council declared a climate emergency?
A) Yes. In 2019 Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency. So did every other council in West Yorkshire. In Leeds, the council has committed to making the city carbon net zero by 2030. Research published by the Leeds Climate Commission and by climate scientists at Leeds University has shown that the additional carbon emissions from extra flights at an expanded LBA would make it impossible to reach that target. If expansion goes ahead, LBA would pump out more emissions than allowed in the carbon budget for the entire city by 2026. You can read the report here.
Q) What do the people of Leeds think?
A) 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 and other experts, one of the Jury’s key recommendations was that airport expansion should be stopped. They called on Leeds to lead an ‘environmental revolution’. Over 2,000 people objected against LBA’s plans on Leeds City Council’s website.
Above: Leeds Citizens Jury delivering their results
Q) Doesn’t the Council own the airport?
A) No, the airport was sold off years ago and was recently bought by AMP, a large Australian based global investment company which was heavily criticised for its business practices in an Australian Royal Commission report in 2019.
Q) Hasn’t LBA said it will be carbon neutral?
A) Look at the small print. The new terminal building might be carbon neutral but greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft would massively increase.
Q) What about electric aircraft and other new technologies?
A) The government’s own Committee on Climate Change has stated that there are no prospects of commercially available 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 short to medium term. 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.
Q) Can’t we offset carbon to reach net zero?
A: Offsetting – such as planting trees to soak up carbon – will not solve the climate emergency on its own. 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.
Q) Why do you want to stop people going on holiday?
A) We don’t. 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. And 48% of the population did not take a single flight abroad in that year.
Q) Why do you want to stop people getting jobs?
A) 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 - 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 (like aviation) and into good quality jobs that tackle climate change (like super-insulating peoples’ homes).
Q) What is GALBA?
A) The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) is a group of concerned citizens in West Yorkshire. We come from a range of backgrounds and from across the political spectrum. We've come together to stop the proposed expansion of LBA for a number of reasons - see why oppose expansion? We believe that the expansion is wrong and must be stopped, for the sake of the current generation and the generations to come. If you support us, please join the campaign and make a donation.