Huddersfield Friends of the Earth (FoE) has criticised Kirklees Council for its failure to take a stand against plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA). The campaigners say they are ‘deeply disappointed’ by the council’s response to their call for a public statement, contrasting it with the public opposition to the plans that Wakefield Council has recently voiced.
The Deputy leader of Wakefield Council, Jack Hemingway, submitted a formal objection on the grounds the plan would have a serious impact on the environment due to an increase in carbon emissions and increased night flying. Climate scientists at Leeds University have calculated that LBA expansion means greenhouse gas emissions from the airport would double in the next 10 years. 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 FoE, said: “We’re in a climate crisis and we need to start dealing with it as the emergency it is. We asked Kirklees to take a public stand against airport expansion because LBA is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in West Yorkshire – and now it wants to double those emissions, precisely when we should be radically and rapidly cutting them.”
Councillor Naheed Mather, who has lead responsibility for making Kirklees carbon net zero by 2038, replied to the group: ”It is a matter for Leeds City Council to determine. I can assure you Kirklees Council remain committed to working with colleagues across West Yorkshire to achieve our ambitious plans for carbon reduction to net zero by 2038. The airport will be factored in to these plans, whatever its capacity… I am confident Leeds City Council, as the local Planning Authority, will take into account all relevant evidence when making their recommendation on the current application for planning permission it has received. “
Chayley added: “Councillor Mather has said that emissions from the airport will be ‘factored into plans’ to reach carbon net zero in Kirklees by 2038. But a report given to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in July made it crystal clear that we cannot reach that goal if LBA is allowed to expand. It would undermine all the other good work that’s being done to cut carbon emissions.. We understand that it’s a decision for Leeds Council to make but there’s nothing to stop Kirklees Council from taking a stand as Wakefield Council has done: we cannot allow airport expansion if we’re serious about tackling the climate emergency.”
Notes for editors
- Background: 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.
- Reply from Cllr Mather to Huddersfield Friends of the Earth: “Thank you for contacting me regarding the expansion plans for Leeds Bradford Airport, which is a matter for Leeds City Council to determine. That said, I can assure you Kirklees Council remain committed to working with colleagues across West Yorkshire to achieve our ambitious plans for carbon reduction to net zero by 2038. The airport will be factored in to these plans, whatever its capacity. I accept the airport expansion is a proposal that divides opinion. That said I am confident Leeds City Council, as the local Planning Authority, will take into account all relevant evidence when making their recommendation on the current application for planning permission it has received. Leeds City Council is also committed to reaching Net Zero cabon emissions across West Yorkshire by 2038″.
- 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: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/climate-emergency/index.aspx
- 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: https://www.leedsclimate.org.uk/reports-and-position-papers Leeds University climate scientists: https://www.galba.uk/post/press-release-leeds-university-climate-scientists-object-to-leeds-bradford-airport-expansion 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: www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk › wy-cerp-technical-report-v6
- 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: https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=dates&keyVal=Q9SM3LJBKXX00