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Press Release: GALBA Welcomes Government's Commitment to Make Big Cuts in Greenhouse Gases by 2035

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has cautiously welcomed reports that the government will announce a new commitment to cutting the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035. In particular, GALBA is pleased that the Prime Minister has said that emissions from international aviation will be included in the new 2035 target date. That would very likely mean that there will be a review of all airport expansion plans around the country, including Leeds Bradford Airport.

Chair of GALBA, Chris Foren, said: “From the start, we’ve said the government and local councils need to set much more ambitious targets for cutting emissions and back up these targets with action. Those targets have to include greenhouse gases caused by flying. At last, the government seems to have listened. This may well be why Robert Jenrick postponed his decision on whether to call in LBA’s application and hold a public inquiry. That postponement stopped the airport from extending flying times, causing more noise and climate damage, at least for now.”

Chris added: “We don’t yet know what the government’s announcement means for LBA expansion in the long run. But we do know that expansion would mean LBA doubles its emissions by 2030 - the opposite of the government’s new commitment to cut over three quarters of our emissions by 2035. We renew our call to the government and Leeds City Council to help workers in aviation switch to safe and sustainable jobs - jobs with a future, for the future.”

The announcement comes a week after a YouGov online survey of business travelers asking about their experience of the changes in business travel during the pandemic. This found that 56% of UK business travellers say they will fly less often as a result of video conference software, even once travel restrictions are lifted. A separate survey last year found that nearly half of UK residents say that they plan to fly less in future.

Additional notes:

1) 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 double in the next 10 years and 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.

2) Public inquiry request: GALBA’s letter to Robert Jenrick requesting a public inquiry can be found here.

3) YouGov research: an online survey of business travellers and their experience of the changes in business travel. 1414 respondents completed the survey in total across seven countries: UK, Denmark, Spain, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. More information can be found here.

4) Manchester and Cardiff University research: nearly 50% of British people plan to fly less even after the easing of coronavirus restrictions as concerns over climate change. More information can be found here.

5) Photo: a high resolution photo of a giant projection onto Leeds Civic Hall of the words ‘Stop Leeds Bradford Airport expansion’ is attached. The photo is owned by GALBA and we freely give it for publication but please credit the photographer, Neil Terry.

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