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Press Release: Leader of Leeds Lib Dems & Three Conservative Councillors Oppose LBA Expansion

The day before Leeds City Council decides on controversial proposals to expand Leeds Bradford airport, Stewart Golton (leader of Leeds Liberal Democrats) and all three Conservative councillors for Horsforth (Dawn Collins, Jonathon Taylor and Jackie Shemilt) have publicly called for the airport’s planning application to be rejected. Their intervention comes two days after almost all of Leeds’ Labour MPs were among over 100 politicians, scientists and local groups who signed an open letter opposing LBA expansion.

In an article published today, Cllr Stewart Golton (who is also the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of West Yorkshire) writes: “From humble holiday rep to Chair of the Board of Leeds Bradford Airport, I took great pleasure in enabling thousands of families to take a break from everyday life…” However he goes on to say: “The issue [with LBA’s plans] is that the sleek, climate friendly structure offered by the Airport comes with strings attached: permission for the airport to almost double its flight operations, and thereby ramp up its carbon emissions. How can this be reconciled with climate change carbon reduction commitments locally and nationally?” He also asks: “Isn’t it more responsible to stimulate investment in sustainable tourism on home ground than enabling people to take their money overseas and pollute the environment to boot?”

The Horsforth Conservative councillors have called for the proposed new terminal building to be separated from the proposed increase in flights and extended day time flying hours. In their objection published today they say: “The proposed changes to daytime flying hours make this application impossible to support” adding that they are concerned that “if the daytime hours are extended and the night time hours remain, the effect will be that flying will actually start at around 5am, or potentially even earlier.” They also point to research by Leeds University into the rise in greenhouse gas emissions that would result from expansion: “...increasing passenger and aviation numbers would account for over 100% of the city’s Carbon Budget.”

Chris Foren, chair of the campaign group GALBA, said: “There is opposition to LBA’s expansion plans from across the political spectrum - Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green politicians have all called for the planning application to be rejected. We have sent legal advice to the councillors who will make the decision tomorrow. This sets out the solid legal reasons for rejection - all they have to do now is show leadership. A better future IS possible.”

Additional notes:

1) Article by Stewart Golton: you can read it here.

2) Objection by Horsforth Conservatives: a copy is attached below.

Download • 587KB

3) GALBA legal advice to Leeds councillors: a copy is attached.

GALBA CPP Letter Feb 10
Download PDF • 159KB

4) Photos: a high resolution photo of a giant projection onto Leeds Civic Hall of the words ‘Stop Leeds Bradford Airport expansion’ is at the top of the article. The photo is owned by GALBA and we freely give them 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 Leeds University 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) Decision day: a decision on LBA’s planning application will be made by the Leeds City Plans Panel on Thursday 11 February.

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