Hundreds of academics and environmental experts joined forces to demand government intervention in the expansion of Leeds-Bradford International Airport. The 246 University of Leeds staff academics have signed an open letter calling on the government to take responsibility for the airport’s planning application.
Airport owners want to increase its annual passenger flow from four million to seven million.
Opponents, including Extinction Rebellion, say the expansion, will negate carbon emission reductions for the whole of the city of Leeds, which has a population of 600,000. But Labour-controlled Leeds City Council — which in 2019 declared a “climate emergency” — has given conditional planning approval for the expansion, which includes a new £150m terminal building, partly on the grounds of economic development and job creation. It says that if Leeds-Bradford Airport does not expand, passengers will simply go to other airports.
The council has also said that the government should take responsibility for issues relating to international airport development – not the local authority.
The open letter is now demanding Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick “call in” the planning application, taking responsibility for the decision away from Leeds City Council.
Chris Foren, chairman of the anti-airport expansion Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), said: “The Secretary of State has the power to intervene in planning matters that conflict with national policies or that cause substantial controversy.
“Given the UK’s 2050 net-zero target, and the international embarrassment caused by approving new airports and new coal mines in the year we are hosting COP26, it is critical he should now exercise that power.”
Barry White ACE secretary reports that the proposed expansion was discussed at the ACE Green virtual Café meeting on Saturday 13 February when various views were expressed.