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Press Release: GALBA Welcomes Rejection of Southhampton Airport Expansion

Campaigners welcome rejection of Southampton airport expansion and call for a public inquiry into Leeds Bradford Airport, as petition gains nearly 4,000 signatures in one week

Today Eastleigh Council rejected plans to extend Southampton airport’s runway. The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has asked why Leeds councillors did not show the same leadership in tackling the climate emergency. GALBA has written to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick asking him to ‘call in’ the LBA decision which was approved by Leeds Council on 11 March. A petition supporting this call for a public inquiry has gained nearly 4,000 signatures in just one week.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “We congratulate the Southampton airport campaigners and Eastleigh councillors for choosing a safer, quieter and greener future. Sadly, Leeds councillors weren’t as sensible. LBA expansion must now go to a public inquiry. The government’s specialist advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, recently said there should be no net expansion of airports across the UK. That means if one airport expands, another one should shrink. Yet both LBA and Southampton airport want to expand - it’s madness! The only way for this mess to be sorted out is for the government to take charge and decide LBA at a public inquiry. That way, the damaging effects of flying on our climate and our communities can be properly considered.”

Chris added: “The UK is hosting the COP26 international climate conference in Glasgow later this year. The president, Alok Sharma, wants to convince the world that the government is leading the way on tackling the climate crisis. He’s going to look pretty silly if the government does nothing to stop Leeds City Council completely undermining the recommendations of the UK’s own climate experts. Mr Sharma really needs to have a word with Mr Jenrick - and quickly.”

A petition calling for Leeds Bradford Airport’s expansion plans to be decided at a public inquiry has gained nearly 4,000 signatures in one week. On 3 March over 240 University of Leeds academics wrote to Robert Jenrick asking him to ‘call in’ the decision. Two weeks later nearly 80 councillors (from across the political spectrum), residents groups and environmental organisations in West Yorkshire wrote to Mr Jenrick calling for a public inquiry. Five West Yorkshire MPs have also asked for a public inquiry: Alex Sobel, Hilary Benn, Richard Burgon, Fabian Hamilton and Philip Davies.

Chris Foren remarked: “All we are really asking is for the government to show they are on the right side of history.”


Additional notes:

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

2) Southampton airport decision: on 26 March, Eastleigh Council rejected a proposed extension to the runway at Southampton airport.

3) Petition: you can see GALBA’s petition here.

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) Leeds City Council decision and referral to Secretary of State: Leeds City Council approved LBA’s planning application on 11 March. LCC was required to refer the decision to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick because the new terminal building will be on greenbelt land and has made the referral. The reasons given by GALBA for holding a public inquiry are being considered by the Secretary of State at the same time as the greenbelt matter.

7) Job creation claims by LBA supporters: recently supporters of LBA expansion were quoted as saying expansion would ‘create 12,000 new jobs’. This is not true. LBA’s planning application claims it would create 2,000 jobs across the Leeds City Region. See attached for details.

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