Huddersfield Friends of the Earth calls on Kirklees council to condemn plans for Leeds Bradford Airport expansion

Huddersfield Friends of the Earth has written to Cllr Naheed Mather asking her to speak out against controversial plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA). In their letter sent today (04/11/20), the climate campaigners warn that expansion would see the airport double its greenhouse gas emissions. Cllr Mather is Kirklees Council’s climate emergency cabinet member, responsible for guiding the Council and the district to net zero carbon by 2038.

LBA sent its planning application to Leeds City Council in May this year and Leeds councillors are expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. The airport wants to change permitted flying hours and build a new passenger terminal so that it can expand from 4 to 7 million passengers per year. Climate scientists at the University of Leeds have calculated that this would double the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. A report to West Yorkshire’s Combined Authority in July warned that LBA’s passenger numbers cannot increase if the region is going to reach its 2038 net zero target.

Chayley Collis, speaking on behalf of Huddersfield Friends of the Earth, said: “Scientists keep on saying that we need to take urgent action and radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The next ten years are crucial to our chances of avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown. But Leeds Bradford Airport wants to radically increase its emissions in the next ten years. It would be plane crazy to let this happen in the middle of the climate emergency!”

She added: “We understand that Kirklees Council can’t stop LBA expansion but they can say loud and clear that it should not be allowed. Here in Kirklees, we want to become carbon net zero by 2038 and we CAN do this – but not if the airport expands. So we’re asking the Council to show leadership and make a public stand by telling Leeds City Council to reject LBA’s planning application.”

Kirklees Councillors who are opposed to the Leeds Bradford airport expansion include Karen Allison, Andrew Cooper, Paola Davies, John Lawson, Sue Lee-Richards, Alison Munro, Richard Murgatroyd, Anthony Smith and Lesley Warner.  

Councillor Richard Murgatroyd commented:

“If we are serious about tackling the Climate Emergency and protecting the health of local people the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport cannot go ahead. The whole purpose of the plan is to massively expand passenger numbers so that would mean many more flights, worst air pollution for residents and more climate changing emissions. All this when we have signed up to challenging targets for Kirklees to achieve net zero emissions by 2038. The money would be far better invested in creating sustainable, green jobs for the future.”

If you live in Kirklees, please contact key members of Kirklees Cabinet using the following email action. Time is of the essence, so please try to contact them before 11 November:


  1. Climate emergency: in 2019, Kirklees Council declared a climate emergency and gave a commitment to make the district ‘net zero’ for carbon emissions by 2038:
  2. Climate science: the Leeds Climate Commission and other climate scientists from Leeds University have calculated that LBA’s expansion plans mean emissions from the airport would double in the next ten years. Leeds Climate Commission: Leeds University climate scientists: A Carbon Emissions Reduction Pathway report was submitted to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, setting out possible ways to make the region net zero by 2038: › wy-cerp-technical-report-v6
  3. Decision day: no date has yet been made public for when the City Plans Panel of Leeds City Council will consider LBA’s planning application. Leeds City Council’s website states that the “agreed expiry date” for LBA’s planning application is 30 November:
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