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GALBA Calls on LBA Owners to Invest £125m in West Yorkshire to Create Jobs that Cut Fuel Bills

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

One week after Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) withdrew its controversial expansion plans, the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has called on the airport’s owners, AMP Capital, to invest £125 million in West Yorkshire home insulation businesses to cut fuel bills and reduce emissions. Press reports suggest that the plan to extend the airport’s existing terminal will cost AMP £25 million, whereas they would have spent £150 million building a new terminal.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “People in Leeds and Bradford need two things right now: a way to cut their fuel bills and climate-friendly jobs. Home insulation is the quickest and most effective way to save energy and cut costs, at the same time as reducing emissions. But there aren’t enough home insulation firms around to do all the work that’s needed.”

“AMP clearly has the money available and has said it’s interested in sustainability and creating employment in our region. So we’re calling on them to partner up with West Yorkshire councils to invest in home insulation businesses and increase the size of this vital industry. Doing that would create jobs, cut bills and reduce emissions - it’s a win, win, win.”

He added: “AMP is a massive multinational, with billions to invest. Our local councils have already super-insulated some homes but if they get together with AMP, so much more could be done - especially in our poorer communities. GALBA is going to post AMP a copy of our report, A Green New Deal for Leeds City Region, which shows the enormous potential for good quality jobs that would also tackle the climate crisis with the right investment.”

GALBA has also responded to claims made by Vincent Hodder, LBA’s CEO, that the airport will continue to expand despite having pulled its planning application. Chris Foren explained: “Mr Hodder knows very well that there is a legal agreement between LBA and Leeds City Council which places a limit of five million passengers per year and applies to the previous planning permission. And his claim that LBA has permission for unlimited night flights is also incorrect as it disregards restrictions imposed by National Air Traffic Services. GALBA is keeping a close eye on what LBA does next.”

Additional notes:

1) Photos: two images are, one attached showing Chris Foren preparing to post GALBA’s report to AMP Capital in Australia and another of the cover of the report A Green New Deal for Leeds City Region.

2) A Green New Deal for Leeds City Region: the report is available to download free of charge from GALBA’s website.

3) Existing planning controls limit passenger numbers and night flights: LBA’s CEO has said he intends to use the 2019 planning permission to continue expanding the airport. However, there is a Section 106 agreement between LBA and Leeds City Council and night flying restrictions imposed by a NOTAM that both apply to the 2019 planning permission.

Legal agreement between LBA and LCC: this is known as ‘section 106’ (s106) agreement and it places a limit of five million passengers per year using LBA. The s106 was acknowledged in LBA’s now withdrawn planning application, which stated the following in relation to the 2019 planning permission:

“There is, however, a Section 106 Agreement associated with this extension proposal that requires LBA to make a planning application once the passenger throughput exceeds 4.5mppa, to demonstrate what would be necessary in order to facilitate annual passenger throughput in excess of 5 million passengers per annum.” Chapter 3 of the Environmental Impact Assessment, para 3.6.16.

The s106 limit on passenger numbers was also referred to in para 5 of the report of Leeds City Council’s Chief Planning Officer to the February 2021 City Plans Panel meeting, which approved LBA’s now withdrawn application:

“Members will also recall that a planning application was submitted at the end of 2018 for a terminal extension, which was granted permission in 2019. This allowed for expansion of passengers to 5 million per annum by the year 2023.”

Night flights and National Air Traffic Services: existing planning controls place a limit of 4,000 night flights per year. This will not change because LBA has withdrawn its application which sought to remove that limit. In addition, there are controls via a NOTAM, issued by National Air Traffic Services, that restricts the type of aircraft permitted to fly at night. LBA’s CEO has recently claimed that quieter, more modern aircraft will be exempt from the 4,000 limit and therefore LBA will be able to fly an almost unlimited number of aircraft at night.

However, the NOTAM restriction includes rules about both the weight of aircraft and the noise they create. This means that, in order to be exempt from the 4,000 limit, aircraft have to be both quieter and below a certain weight. All modern passenger jets are all above the weight limit, so they will not be exempt meaning they will count towards the 4,000 night flights limit.

More detailed explanations of the s106 and NOTAM are attached.

NOTAM detailed explainer for PDF v3
Download PDF • 169KB

4) Expert climate policy advice on airport expansion: Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) said last year, ​“There is not any space for airport expansion” if the UK is to meet its climate goals. The CCC’s policy recommendation is for ​“no net expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory and can accommodate the additional demand”. That test has not been met and will not be met for many years to come.

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