Campaigners against Leeds Bradford Airport expansion agree to meet airport’s new Chief Exec - on condition that he explains why he thinks the airport already has permission to increase to 7 million passengers The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has welcomed an invitation from the airport’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to meet and discuss their objections to airport expansion. But first, they have asked him to publish evidence to support his claim that the airport can already increase its passenger numbers to 7 million per year, even though there is a legal agreement with Leeds City Council that limits growth to 5 million. The invitation to meet was made in an email sent to GALBA on Friday 28 May by LBA’s CEO. The letter also said: “the airport already has all of the necessary approvals to grow whether or not this planning approval is granted.” GALBA does not accept that claim, pointing to the legally binding agreement between LBA and Leeds City Council, which was updated in January 2019 and limits expansion to 5 million passengers per year. Chris Foren, Chair of GALBA, said: “It’s a very strange claim to make so we’re looking forward to reading why he thinks it’s true. In 2009, the airport and the Council signed what’s known as a ‘Section 106’ legal agreement. This states clearly that in order to increase passenger numbers above 5 million per year, LBA has to seek permission from the Council by making a new planning application. That legal agreement has been updated over the years and was signed by LBA and the Council as recently as January 2019. But the section limiting passenger growth to 5 million per year has never been changed or removed.” Chris added: “That’s why LBA have gone to the trouble and expense of making a new application. They want to extend daytime flying hours by 90 minutes - and remove the existing limit on night flights - so that they can fly 3 million more passengers on 16,000 extra flights per year. As we keep on warning, that would mean a massive increase in greenhouse gases, seriously damaging our climate, and a lot more noise for a lot more people in our communities. The good news is that we can make the right choices today to build a better tomorrow for everyone. We can invest in good, green jobs that also fight the climate crisis and create a safer world.” Additional notes:
1) Section 106 agreement: in 2009, LBA and LCC signed an agreement conditions to a planning permission given to LBA by LCC in that year. Para 6.2 of the second schedule to the agreement states: “Not later than 12 months of the annual passenger throughput at the Airport under the Planning Permission exceeding 4.5mppa [million passengers per annum], LBIA shall submit a planning application together with full supporting information including a transport assessment, draft travel plan and heads of terms for a planning obligation for such further development at the Airport requiring express planning permission as would be necessary to facilitate an annual passenger throughput in excess of 5mppa.” [emphasis added] The 2009 Section 106 agreement has been updated by Deeds of Variation in 2012, 2014 and 2019. None of those updates have changed or removed para 6.2 with its requirement that LBA makes a new planning application in order to increase above 5 million passengers per year. Copies of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 Deeds of Variation can be supplied on request.
2) Climate science and LBA 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. See the report here.
3) UK’s new emissions reduction target includes aviation: the government’s announcement can be found here.
4) Green New Deal UK sustainable jobs: 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.
5) UK-wide airport expansion moratorium call: GALBA has joined with 15 other local and national airport campaigns to call for an immediate halt to all airport expansion plans. Further details and a copy of the letter are available here. 6) 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.