Commenting on Leeds Bradford Airport’s expansion proposals, Leeds City Council’s Nature Team say they don’t have confidence in the airport’s ability to protect local wildlife. The Nature Team are following up serious questions raised by Natural England last month, as they try to understand how much damage would be done to local biodiversity if the airport is allowed to expand. Natural England’s report advised Leeds City Council not to grant planning permission unless LBA gave answers to a range of questions about protecting and enhancing natural resources.
In a five page report, Leeds City Council’s Nature Team have highlighted concerns about LBA’s lack of concrete commitments to protect wildlife and natural resources around the Yeadon site. Reporting on a pond for Great Crested Newts, which LBA has failed to maintain, they say: “It is disappointing that this ... pond has not been managed by the Airport and has been allowed to become unsuitable for Great Crested Newts. This removes confidence that the Airport can carry out positive biodiversity management of its assets. It should be brought back into good condition...” Great Crested Newts are at risk of extinction and have international importance - they are strictly protected by law.
Chris Foren, chair of the Group for Action on LBA, said: “If the airport’s Australian owners, AMP Capital, can’t be trusted to look after a pond, how on earth can they be trusted with an airport? They certainly can’t be trusted with our climate! We’re pleased that the Council’s Nature Team are forcing LBA to take their responsibilities seriously. The airport’s chief executive got paid £2.3 million last year - but they couldn’t find the money to look after a legally protected and very rare species.”
Chis added: “AMP Capital have tried to present the application as being all about a new ‘green’ terminal building. But it isn’t. They want to extend daytime flying hours and allow more planes to fly at night, which would mean doubling their greenhouse gas emissions in the middle of the climate emergency. That’s plane crazy.”