Commenting on plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport, the countryside watchdog Natural England has told Leeds City Council that “there is currently not enough information to rule out the likelihood of significant effects [from LBA expansion]. Natural England therefore advises that your authority should not grant planning permission at this stage.”
In a seven page report, Natural England said that LBA’s planning application failed to give enough information about the potential damage to wildlife, nature and the countryside surrounding the airport. The report highlights concerns about significant effects on the north and south Pennine moors, Barden and Blubberhouses sites of special scientific interest and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Natural England are particularly concerned about the effects on wildlife of increased noise from extra flights, increased ‘bird strikes’ and damaging the tranquility of Nidderdale AONB.
Chris Foren, chair of the anti-airport expansion campaign group GALBA, said: “Natural England have basically said that LBA haven’t bothered to assess the damage that their expansion plans would do to wildlife and nature. When you read the report, it’s full of polite but firm requests for LBA to go away and re-write their planning application.”
“LBA’s Australian owners, AMP Capital, have tried to present the application as being all about a new ‘green’ terminal building. But it isn’t. They want to extend daytime flying hours and allow more planes to fly at night. The least they could is to properly assess the harm that all those extra flights would cause. This report reveals just how little they care.”
Chris added: “Remember - the current terminal building accounts for just 1.3% of LBA’s greenhouse gas emissions. 93% come from planes using the airport and AMP Capital want a massive increase in the number of flights. That would be disastrous for the climate and very bad for the local countryside.”
1) Natural England: the government's adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England's nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Their report to Leeds City Council is attached. More information about Natural England is available here.