Campaigners welcome Leeds City Council’s enforcement action against Leeds Bradford Airport for breaking the night flight rules in summer 2022
The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has welcomed today’s decision by Leeds City Council to issue a ‘breach of condition’ notice against Leeds Bradford Airport for breaking the rules that limit the number of night flights in summer 2022. GALBA described the Council’s enforcement action as necessary to stop the airport violating the rules and damaging people’s health again this year.
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “Last year, we told the Council that we believed there had been over 600 more flights than allowed at night from LBA during the 2022 summer season. It turns out there were actually 747 over the limit! We’re pleased that the Council has accepted our complaint and is taking enforcement action. Sadly, the Council has no power to impose a fine but the breach of condition notice is important. It should mean the airport doesn't break the night flight rules again this summer - that’s good news for local people and for the environment.”
Chris added: “We’ve said all along that the airport’s bosses cannot be trusted and this shows we were right. They will always put their profits above the rules, people’s health and the planet. We’re pleased that the Council has set up a new monitoring framework but we’ll also keep an eye on the number of flights and take action if LBA breaks the rules again.”
Andy Tait, a GALBA member who lives near the airport said: “It’s disgraceful that Leeds Bradford Airport just ignored rules that its own bosses signed up to. Night flights are strictly limited by a planning condition for a good reason - medical research has repeatedly shown that noise, especially at night, is linked to mental and physical health problems. And, of course, every additional flight means more air pollution and more damage to our climate. I don’t begrudge anyone their annual holiday but there has to be a limit on the amount of flying at night and the airport has to stick to that limit. No one is above the law so it’s good news that the Council has taken action to enforce its own rules.”
1) Night flight rules: LBA operates under a cap on night time flights under its current planning conditions. Leeds City Council has responsibility for monitoring and enforcing those conditions. They define the Summer Season as British Summer Time, which was 27 March to 30 October in 2022. The night time period is defined as 23:00 hours to 07:00 and an aircraft movement is defined as a landing or a departure. The 2023 Summer Season began on 26 March.
The maximum number of night time aircraft movements in the Summer Season is set at 2,800 and in the Winter Season at 1,200. Up to 10% of ‘unused’ night flights from the previous season may be transferred to the next season. Due to the impact of the pandemic during the previous winter season, the cap of 1,200 was not reached. Consequently, the limit on night time aircraft movements during the 2022 Summer Season was 2,920.
2) Leeds City Council’s decision: LCC have issued a ‘breach of condition’ notice having found the following:
“During the BST period in 2022 there were 3667 night-time movements. The cap imposed by Condition 7 for BST in 2022 was 2920 (which included the 10% transfer of unused Winter season movements). The number of aircraft movements therefore exceeded the cap by 747 which amounts to a 25% increase on the cap which is a breach of Condition 7 of the 2007 Permission.
During the BST period in 2022 there was 1 departure by aircraft recorded by LBA as being Quota Count 1 during the night-time period. This is a breach of Condition 4…
LBA have been informed of these outcomes and a Breach of Condition Notice has been served, by the Council on 6th June 2023, in respect of Condition 7. LBA have accepted that a breach has occurred and the requirement to comply with the Breach of Condition Notice and adhere to the limits set in Condition 7.
Whilst there has been a breach in respect of Condition 4, this was by a single departure, it was not therefore considered expedient to take enforcement action given the de minimis level of this breach. However, a revised monitoring framework has been put in place by LBA, to be reviewed by the City Council on a monthly basis, to ensure continued compliance with all of the Planning Conditions.”
3) GALBA: is a group of concerned citizens from across West Yorkshire who successfully campaigned against a planning application by Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) to expand by three million passengers a year. More information about GALBA is available on their website: www.galba.uk