Today, three West Yorkshire teenagers will hand-deliver a petition signed by more than 54,000 people to the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, on behalf of the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA). The petition asks Mr Jenrick to ‘call in’ controversial plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) and hold a public inquiry. Naomi Simpson (17, from Wakefield), Martha Dacombe (17, from Ilkley) and Brannoc Stevenson (18, from Leeds) will hand in the petition to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in London this afternoon. The teenage campaigners say airport expansion would undermine the UK’s chances of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and damage the government’s credibility as a climate leader, in the same year that it hosts the COP26 international climate conference. LBA’s planning application was approved by Leeds City Council on 22 March but GALBA wrote to Robert Jenrick asking him to hold a public inquiry into the expansion plans. MPs from Labour and Conservative parties have supported the call for a public inquiry. On 6 April, Mr Jenrick postponed making a decision on this request, giving no explanation or timescale. Naomi Simpson (17, from Wakefield) said: “The climate crisis is real and we urgently need to cut greenhouse gases. Allowing the airport to expand would take us in completely the wrong direction. It’s my generation who will suffer the worst effects of climate breakdown so I’m standing up for our future. I’ve been let down by politicians in Leeds, now I’m asking Mr Jenrick to do the right thing and hold a public inquiry.” Martha Dacombe (17, from Ilkley) said: “This is not just about Leeds Bradford Airport. We’re on the brink of climate and ecological breakdown, yet airports throughout the country are trying to expand. Approving LBA’s application would open the floodgates of expansion at other airports. Like Greta Thunberg always says, we must listen to the science - and the scientists on the Climate Change Committee say we must stop all airports from expanding. I really hope Mr Jenrick listens to them.” Brannoc Stevenson (18, from Leeds) added: “We have a real opportunity to make the right decisions today to build a better tomorrow. The good news is that we can invest in green jobs that will help us recover from Covid, fight the climate crisis and create a safer future - all at the same time! That’s the kind of job I want.” Last week, GALBA joined a network of 16 national and local airport campaigns calling on the government to impose an immediate moratorium on all proposed UK
airport expansions. Experts warn that the cumulative impact of increasing emissions from all of the UK’s proposed airport expansions would severely damage the government’s new target of cutting emissions by 78% by 2035. The government has also announced its acceptance of the Climate Change Committee’s advice to include greenhouse gases from aviation in the UK’s carbon reduction target. However there is currently no plan for how to cut aviation emissions, which is why campaigners are calling for a halt on all airport expansion plans. ENDS Notes for editors 1. Photos of Naomi, Martha and Brannoc: attached 2. Petition hand-in: the petition will be hand delivered to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF at 14:30 on Friday 21 May. We will send photos of Naomi, Martha and Brannoc at the MHCLG building on Friday afternoon. 3. The petition: it was promoted by 38 Degrees and you can view it here . 4. For information about the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport: contact Chris Foren, GALBA Chair 07810 546727 or Chrisforen@virginmedia.com (contact details NOT for publication) and see the GALBA website: www.galba.uk 5. UK-wide airport expansion moratorium call: further details and a copy of the letter are available here . 6. UK airport expansion plans: nine airports are currently developing plans to expand. More details are available here . 7. UK emissions-reduction target to include aviation: the government’s announcement is available here . 8. Cross-party support for a public inquiry: Hilary Benn MP (Labour), Alex Sobel MP (Labour), Fabian Hamilton MP (Labour), Richard Burgon MP (Labour) and Philip Davies MP (Conservative) have all stated they support a public inquiry. Stewart Andrew MP (Conservative) has told constituents that he has spoken with ministers at the MHCLG to ensure they are aware of the strength of feeling about LBA’s proposals. 9. Climate science and Leeds Bradford Airport expansion: the Leeds Climate Commission and experts in climate science from the University of
Leeds have calculated that LBA’s proposals mean greenhouse gas emissions from the airport would exceed the amount allowed for the whole of Leeds, as set out in the Leeds Carbon Reduction Roadmap, from 2026 onwards. The Climate Commission report is available here . 10. Green jobs: Green New Deal UK research published in April assessed the potential for investment in ‘green’ jobs. It found that 11,600 could be created in Leeds and 7,300 in Bradford. More detailed information is available here . 11. LBA public inquiry decision postponed: on 6 April, Secretary of State Robert Jenrick postponed his decision on whether to call in LBA’s application for a public inquiry. This means that no changes can be made to flying hours at LBA until a final decision is made.