Press Release: Communities, MPs & Councillors Oppose LBA's Plans, Help Needed for Redundant Workers

Airport campaigners praise West Yorkshire communities, MPs and councillors and for opposing Leeds Bradford Airport expansion and call on Leeds City Council to help workers being made redundant.

With only one day left until the deadline for comments on Leeds Bradford Airport’s controversial planning application, campaigners against expansion have praised local people for their support in a ‘David versus Goliath’ struggle. The Group for Action on LBA has also renewed calls to help LBA staff being made redundant.

Over 1,500 objections have been made against the planning application, including seven West Yorkshire MPs and 20 councillors from different parties, five parish councils, climate scientists at Leeds University, community and conservation groups. Serious questions about the application have also been raised by Public Health England and Natural England.

Chris Foren, chair of the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “It’s a David vs Goliath struggle - and we’re David! The airport’s owners, AMP Capital, are an extremely wealthy investment company, based in Australia. LBA has its own paid public relations team and a huge email ‘marketing’ list. In 2018, the highest paid LBA director received £1,775,000. None of us are paid a penny! We’re just a group of ordinary local people, determined to protect our environment and the future. So are thousands of other people in West Yorkshire.”

Commenting on recent redundancy announcements by LBA, Jet2 and Swissport, Chris said: "It's terrible news for those families. We desperately don’t want local people to be without work but the airport is not the way forward for jobs. We support the efforts made by Leeds City Council to help people move into sustainable jobs - jobs with a future, for the future.”

Chris added: “There are many reasons to object to LBA’s plans. Expansion would make the climate emergency worse by doubling the airport’s emissions when we urgently need to cut them. It would make life a lot noisier for a lot more people in Leeds and Bradford - not just people living near the airport. The increase in noise would affect many disadvantaged communities across Leeds - people who can least afford to fly. Expansion would make air pollution worse in a city that’s just announced a Clean Air Zone and it would also clog up roads in communities around the airport with traffic from the proposed 3 million extra passengers. We just hope that Leeds City Council listens to its own Citizens Jury and rejects the airport’s planning application.”

1) LBA’s highest paid director - £1.7 million: according to LBA’s 2018 Accounts, the highest paid director received £1,775,000 in pay and remuneration that year - see the bottom of p23 in the attached accounts.

LBA accounts YE 2018pdf

2) LBA and aviation industry redundancies:

  • LBA will make 100+ zero hours and temporary staff redundant, full article.

  • Jet2 will make 100+ pilots redundant, full article.

  • Swissport will make baggage handling staff at LBA redundant, full article.

3) Leeds Climate Change Citizens Jury: the Jury was a group of 25 randomly selected Leeds residents, representative of the population of Leeds. They considered the climate change challenges facing the city and made recommendations about how Leeds needs to respond. Recommendation 9 was: “Leeds Bradford Airport expansion should be stopped; specifically Leeds City Council should not approve new road-building or selling land to develop… Residents should block expansion and be educated about the impact on the carbon footprint”. The jury also said that flying should be discouraged by measures including a frequent-flyer tax (based on income and number of flights and location) and by advertising holidays in the UK rather than abroad. The full report is available here.

5) Noise implications of expansion: the ‘noise map’ showing areas affected by increased noise from expansion is attached. According to LBA’s planning application:

  • An extra 2,600 people will be subject to at least 51dB, an extra 1900 to at least 54dB, an extra 700 to at least 60dB and an extra 200 to at least 60dB (Table 10.21 in the noise and vibration chapter located in “FU-ES Volume 1 Chapter 10 Noise and Vibration”).

  • 26,100 more people will hear between 1 and 50 more planes which are loud enough to disturb them on an average summer day (Table 10.23 in the noise and vibration chapter)

  • 7,200 more people will hear between 50 and 100 planes loud enough to disturb them on an average summer day (Table 10.23 in the noise and vibration chapter).

  • 34,000 more people to be subjected to an increase in the amount of daytime aircraft noise loud enough to have an adverse effect on them (Table 10.22 in the noise and vibration chapter)

  • 36,700 more people will experience nighttime aircraft noise loud enough to have an observable adverse effect on them and 700 more people will experience significant adverse effects (Table 10.24 in the noise and vibration chapter)

  • 123,000 more people will be exposed to an increase in night Fme aircraft noise at levels which have observable adverse impacts (Table 10.25 in the noise and vibration chapter)

  • Unsurprisingly, LBA’s consultants also indicate that these increases in noise will have adverse impacts on the health of people living under the flight path. (in “FU-ES Volume 1 Chapter 13 Human Health”)

5) Climate impact of Leeds-Bradford Airport expansion: researchers at Leeds University have examined the climate effects of LBA’s expansion plans. The airport wants to double the number of passengers using the airport every year from 4m to 7.1m by 2030. This means that by 2030, the climate impact of all the extra flights would be double the target for all emissions for Leeds as a whole. By 2045, the overshoot would escalate to almost a factor of 10. By 2050, the combined climate impact of all flights through Leeds Bradford Airport since 2018 would be almost double the carbon budget for Leeds as a whole. Even if only one in five passengers are Leeds residents, their flights alone would use up 35% of the city’s entire carbon budget by 2050. The full article is available here.

6) Wealthy minority take majority of flights: Leeds Climate Commission’s ‘Aviation Position Paper’ was published in December 2019. It states that the majority of UK flights are taken by a minority of better off people. 70% of all flights are taken by 20% of the population; 100% of all flights are taken by 52% of people. These ‘frequent flyers’ are on higher incomes - the wealthiest 20% take 40% of all flights. The full report is available here.

7) Aviation expansion and achieving zero carbon are fundamentally incompatible - and new technologies are not on the horizon: Leeds City Council “accepts that aviation growth and meeting zero carbon targets are fundamentally incompatible until such time as new technologies are developed.”* Leeds Climate Commission’s ‘Aviation Position Paper’ states: “In the medium to long term, there is some scope for technological change... However, the prospects for such innovations becoming widely adopted across the aviation sector in the short to medium term currently seem low - even if planes with new technologies became viable in the next decade, it would take many years for existing fleets to transition towards the new technologies. Given the nature of the climate emergency and the need to deliver deep reductions in emissions in the next decade, the growth of emissions from aviation therefore represents a major challenge.” Page four of Exec Board Climate Emergency report, 7 January 2020.

© 2020 by Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA)