News Updates

Campaigners protest outside airport night flight meeting

October 03 2023 • 3 minute read

On Thursday 5 October, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) will protest outside a packed meeting called to discuss the rules that limit night time flying at the airport. Campaigners will hold banners and wear t-shirts saying ‘no more night flights’ and ‘we need our sleep’. GALBA will also warn that the airport’s Chief Executive, Vincent Hodder, who is speaking at the meeting, ‘cannot be trusted’ in the escalating row about LBA’s latest planning application to Leeds City Council.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “Mr Hodder says he’s ‘confused’ about the meaning of the rules that limit night time flying and he wants them to be ‘clarified’. Well he wasn’t confused in June when he publicly apologised for breaking those rules! The rules are clear – they put a cap on the number of night flights allowed and they haven’t changed since June.

I don’t think Mr Hodder is ‘confused’ at all. He just doesn’t like the rules because he wants to fly more planes at night. And that is exactly what would happen if his reinterpretation of the rules is accepted by the Council. You just can’t trust what he says.”

Mr Hodder says he’s ‘confused’ about the meaning of the rules that limit night time flying and he wants them to be ‘clarified’. Well he wasn’t confused in June when he publicly apologised for breaking those rules!

LBA has rrequested five Certificates of Lawful Existing Use or Development (known as CLEUDS) to Leeds City Council. The applications aim to reinterpret the existing rules to allow certain types of planes to fly at night and not be counted towards the cap on night flights.

LBA also wants all late arrivals, of all types of planes, up to 1am not to count towards the cap on night flights. Together, those changes would result in a major rise in the number of flights permitted between 11pm and 7am.

Andy Tait, a GALBA member who lives under the flight path, said: “Night time flying is bad news for anyone under the flight path. It isn’t just people living close to the airport who are affected. GALBA has been contacted by people as far away as Beeston and Bramley, who tell us that noisy planes are the talk of the playground, particularly among autistic children.

The disturbance from these flights is a major cause of all kinds of serious health issues. That’s why there are rules – to protect the public. And of course, more night flights means more deadly greenhouse gases polluting our climate.”

"The disturbance from these flights is a major cause of all kinds of serious health issues. That’s why there are rules – to protect the public. And of course, more night flights means more deadly greenhouse gases polluting our climate.”

Additional notes

Meeting in Weetwood: the meeting will be held at 6.30pm at Cookridge Methodist Church, Otley Old Road, Leeds LS16 7DF and it is sold out. It has been organised by councillors representing the Weetwood ward and Vincent Hodder, CEO of LBA, accepted their invitation to speak at the meeting.

Photo opportunity: GALBA members will protest outside the meeting from 6pm. They will hold banners and wear t-shirts saying ‘no more night flights’ and ‘we need our sleep’.

Night flight rules and breaches: 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.

LBA broke those rules in the 2022 summer season and the Council issued a breach of condition notice against LBA in June 2023. GALBA monitored night flights from LBA in the 2023 summer season and found that LBA had broken the rules again by 18 September this year. GALBA will formally complain to the Council when the summer season ends on 29 October.

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