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Press Release: Ride the Noise - Riding LBA's Map to Highlight Areas Affected by Increased Noise

Ride the Noise: campaigners cycle the outline of LBA’s ‘noise map’ to highlight areas affected by increased noise if airport expansion goes ahead

On Saturday 29 August, the same day that Tour de France riders set off from Nice, cyclists from the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport set off from Millenium Square in Leeds. They cycled a route that matches the outline of the ‘noise map’ in Leeds Bradford Airport’s expansion application. Their aim was to highlight just how many more parts of West Yorkshire would be affected by increased noise if the airport is allowed to expand.

The ‘noise map’ shows the West Yorkshire communities that would suffer more aircraft noise - from Wakefield in the south up to Ilkley and beyond in the north, and over to Bingley and Bradford in the west. A swathe of Leeds neighbouhoods under the flightpath would also experience more noise, including Armley, Bramley, Richmond Hill, Little London, the city centre, Belle Isle, Middleton, Rothwell, Robin Hood, as well as Hyde Park, Headingley, Otley and areas close to the airport in north west Leeds.

Chair of GALBA, Chris Foren said: “We’re not going as far as the Tour de France riders! But we are alerting people to what Leeds Bradford Airport expansion would mean. LBA wants to extend daytime flying hours to start at 6am and finish at 11.30pm, to impose no limit on the number of noisy flights permitted between 6am and 11.30pm, to allow planes to land up to 1am if they are behind schedule and to remove the limit on the total number of flights per night. LBA’s proposed night time ‘quota system’ would allow the equivalent of 20 flights by Airbus 320s between 11.30pm and 6am every night in the 6 months of summer. LBA’s own planning application says that 123,000 more people would be exposed to increased night-time noise,”

He added: “Of course, LBA’s plans also would mean doubling the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions in the middle of the climate emergency. If expansion is allowed, from 2030 the airport would pump out more greenhouse gas emissions than allowed in the carbon budget for the whole of the rest of Leeds. We all share the same climate so we all need to protect it - for the sake of everyone’s future.”

The cyclists set off from Millennium Square in the morning and stopped for breaks, including Hall Park in Horsforth and Middleton Park in south Leeds. They were greeted by fellow airport campaigners with a banner showing their opposition to LBA expansion. GALBA supporters in the parks wore face masks and observed social distancing rules to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Additional Notes:

1) The Ride the Noise route: the total route was 100 miles, split into a northern loop (65 miles) and a southern loop (35 miles), with a different group of cyclists for each loop. Below are the places that GALBA supporters met the riders. The ride finished with a family-friendly gathering in Millennium Square in Leeds, with a socially distanced lap of honour for everyone with wheels - prams, pushchairs, bicycles, wheelchairs, scooters.

Northern loop:

  • Millennium Square, Leeds

  • Ilkley, grass next to river on opposite side from town centre

  • Lister Park, Bradford

  • Hall Park, Horsforth

  • Millennium Square, Leeds

Southern loop:

  • Millennium Square, Leeds

  • County Hall, Wakefield - Coronation Gardens

  • Middleton Park, Leeds

2) LBA’s noise map: a copy of the map from LBA’s planning application is attached below.

3) Photos: pictures of the riders leaving and returning to Millennium Square, and taking a break in Horsforth Hall Park and Middleton Park, are attached.

4) Climate and emissions: climate scientists from the University of Leeds have warned that LBA expansion would result in the airport doubling its emissions at a time when there is consensus that we must radically reduce emissions to avoid the worst extremes of climate change: floods, extreme heatwaves, sea level rise, crop failures and damage to drinking water supplies.

5) University experts call on Council to reject LBA expansion: earlier this year, 90 academics from Leeds University signed an open letter to Leeds City Council, calling on its City Plans Panel to reject LBA’s planning application because of the damage it would do to the climate. The full text of their letter is available here.

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