Aircraft noise is a serious problem and the World Health Organisation recommends far lower thresholds to prevent adverse health impacts from aviation. Aircraft noise disturbs sleep, causing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and is linked to some cancers. That's why night flying is highly regulated.

Leeds Bradford Airport is using various tactics to subvert the night flying rules.

GALBA has proved that the airport has been flying more planes at night than it is allowed to.

You can find out more about the night time breaches here.

The airport has unilaterally reinterpreted the rules to claim it can fly some types of planes without counting them towards the night time flight allowance. There has been no agreement from the regulator, Leeds City Council, and the airport’s claims are bogus.

You can read more about why the airport must count ALL night flights and find out how aviation noise is measured here.

Leeds Bradford Airport is also currently trying to get round the night flight regulations by using a part of the planning system called Certificates of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUDs).

This is a very live issue and GALBA is fighting it. We’re pleased to say that two of LBA’s CLEUDs have been rejected by the council. We expect decisions on the remaining two to be made in summer 2024.

You can find out more about the CLEUD controversy here and the links between aircraft noise and ill-health here.

It was only because of GALBA's monitoring that the Council found out that LBA was breaking night flying rules

In the summer season of 2022, LBA broke the rules by flying 747 more flights than allowed. In summer 2023, they flew 577 more than allowed.

LBA can fly planes 24/7 but there are restrictions on the number of flights allowed to land and take-off between 23:00 and 07:00.

It was only because GALBA monitored the number of flights that anyone knew about the airport’s rule breaking in the 2022 and 2023 summer seasons. The Council issued a ‘planning enforcement notice’ against LBA for breaking the rules in 2022 and warned that if the airport broke the rules again, LBA could face criminal prosecution.

GALBA proved that LBA did brake the rules again in 2023 but this time the council has decided to do nothing about it. That is scandalous! GALBA is exploring all options to prevent the airport from breaking the rules again – and again…

​The airport’s 2020 planning application, which has now been withdrawn, wanted to scrap the limit on night time flying and extend the definition of daytime by 90 minutes.

That application said that 123,000 people, including thousands in central and south Leeds and areas north west of Leeds, would have been exposed to increased night-time noise at levels that have a noticeable effect, including ‘highly disturbed sleep’. LBA’s application admitted that expansion would have resulted in “…an adverse effect on health due to increased noise.”

Excess noise can cause long-term sleep deprivation, cardio-vascular disease and shorten life-span

Leeds City Council is concerned about the impact of sleep deprivation on public health.

Leeds Public Health department has pointed out: “Research has shown that people wake far more easily in the morning hours, so an intermittent high level noise event between 06:00 and 07:00 is more likely to result in an awakening and prevents someone going back to sleep. “

“This may ultimately result in long-term sleep deprivation, cardiovascular disease and reduction in quality of life.”

The Civil Aviation Authority’s website provides a summary of research into the negative health impacts of aircraft noise. It also gives links to academic reports into the connection between aircraft noise and poor health.

More about the airports night flight planning conditions

The map below shows the communities most under threat from noise from the airport. The areas shaded pink and purple are the most vulnerable.  

Other issues

Leeds Bradford Airport is big enough already