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Press Release: GALBA Supports Call for Immediate Halt on Expansion of All UK Airports

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has joined 15 other national and community campaign groups calling for an immediate halt to all UK airport expansion plans. The government recently announced that it has accepted the advice of its expert climate advisers, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), and has formally included greenhouse gases from international flights in the UK’s carbon reduction target. Leeds councillors believed that these emissions were not relevant when they approved LBA expansion.

However there is currently no national plan for reducing aviation’s greenhouse gases that fits with the UK’s target of reaching carbon net zero by 2050. So GALBA has signed a letter sent today to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, and Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who are responsible for determining the fate of many airport expansion plans. The letter reminds the government that the CCC has “made it clear that adequate airport capacity already exists to meet the future levels of demand... compatible with... achieving net zero by 2050 and advises therefore that there should be no net increase in airport capacity…”

The letter welcomes “the notice issued to Leeds City Council to postpone sending out a final decision letter while consideration is given to a call-in” and concludes “until the Government has… a net zero plan for the [aviation] sector, including a national strategy for airport capacity which acknowledges and plans for the new carbon constraints, it would only be responsible to impose a blanket moratorium on all airport expansion planning.”

Chair of GALBA, Chris Foren, said: “Putting a halt on all airport expansion plans makes sense. It’s impossible for local decision makers to understand the total climate impact of all these different airport proposals. The government has to step up and take responsibility. We simply cannot afford to miss the target of reaching net zero by 2050. The consequences of climate breakdown would be catastrophic for the next generation - our children. The good news is that we can make the right choices today to build a better tomorrow. We can invest in good jobs that also fight the climate crisis and create a safer world.”

1) AEF letter to the government: a copy is attached.

AEF moratorium letter 10 May 2021
Download PDF • 130KB

2) UK airport expansion plans: many airports are developing plans to expand. More details are available here:

3) 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.

4) UK emissions target to include aviation: the government’s announcement can be found here.

5) 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.

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.

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