News Updates

LBA breaks night flight rules for a second summer

October 21 2023 • 3 minute read

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) says that during this year’s summer season, which ended yesterday, Leeds Bradford Airport flew at least 473 more planes than allowed by the night flight rules. The campaigners accuse the airport of simply ignoring rules.

Today GALBA made a formal complaint to Leeds City Council for the second year running. Following their complaint in October last year, the Council issued the airport with a ‘breach of condition’ notice for breaking the night flight rules in summer 2022. GALBA has asked the Council to take strong enforcement action as soon as possible, which could involve criminal prosecution of LBA.

GALBA has asked the Council to take strong enforcement action as soon as possible, which could involve criminal prosecution of Leeds Bradford Airport.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “In June, LBA’s boss, Vincent Hodder, accepted that the airport had broken the night flight rules in 2022. He claimed that it was a mistake and admitted that LBA looked ‘amateurish’. He publicly apologised and said that it would never happen again. Yet here we are, six months later, and LBA has broken the rules again by over 470 flights.

This comes at a time when Mr Hodder is trying to get the Council to reinterpret the rules via his CLEUD planning applications, so that he can get away with even more night flights”.

“We’ll find out by the end of November whether the Council does the right and legal thing by rejecting LBA’s CLEUDs. Whatever happens, the reality is that every extra flight means more noise harming people’s health and more pollution, damaging our climate and the air we breathe. The night flight rules exist to protect public health and our environment – LBA should be forced to stick to them.”

The night time flying rules place strict limits on the number of take-offs and landings allowed between 11pm and 7am. LBA’s ‘quota’ for the 2023 summer season (corresponding to British Summer Time) was 2,920.

GALBA monitored the number of night flights over the summer season, using real time flight data information available online, and found that there were 3,393 flights. It is not known when Leeds City Council will make a decision on GALBA’s complaint.

“In June, LBA’s boss, Vincent Hodder, accepted that the airport had broken the night flight rules in 2022. He claimed that it was a mistake and admitted that LBA looked ‘amateurish’. He publicly apologised and said that it would never happen again. Yet, six months later, LBA has broken the rules again by nearly over 470 flights."

Additional notes

Night flight breaches: LBA broke the rules in the 2022 summer season and the Council issued a breach of condition notice against the airport in June 2023.

In 2023, GALBA used exactly the same monitoring process as for the summer season 2022.The night flight figures for summer 2023 are below. GALBA only monitors large, commercial passenger jet movements, so it is likely that LBA exceeded the limit by more flights than GALBA detected when smaller jet aircraft are taken into account.

2023 summer season flights

April 238

May 443

June 562

July 610

August 606

September 534

October 400

Total 3,393

Allowance 2,920

Excess 473

Night flight rules: LBA operates under a cap on night time flights under its planning conditions. Leeds City Council has responsibility for monitoring and enforcing those conditions. They define the Summer Season as British Summer Time, which is 26 March to 29 October in 2023. The night time period is defined as 23.00 to 07.00 and an aircraft movement is defined as a landing or a departure.

CLEUD applications: in September, LBA submitted five CLEUD planning applications, asking Leeds City Council to reinterpret the rules that limit the number and type of flights permitted between 23.00 and 07.00. GALBA has submitted detailed evidence that shows LBA’s applications should be rejected. The Council has stated it has delayed making a decision until 22 November at the earliest.

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