NEWS RELEASE: Shipley Town Council comments on proposals for Leeds Bradford Airport

Shipley Town Council objection to the planning application 20/02559/FU (Leeds City Council local planning authority area)

This is an objection made by Shipley Town Council to planning application 20/02559/FU, by Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) for demolition of existing passenger pier, construction of a new terminal building, passenger piers and associated infrastructure, construction of new vehicular access and modifications to flight time controls to extend the daytime flight period.

Shipley Town Council represents a town directly affected by flight paths into and out of Leeds Bradford Airport. The Town Council believes that this application if approved will adversely affect the communities it serves.

The Town Council sets out its reasons for objection below.

Climate Change

The purpose of the planning system, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), is to “contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.” This is summarised in the framework as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Reference 1).

The greatest challenge facing our society, and that of future generations, is climate change. The UK government has acknowledged this and in December 2020 announced a new target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels (Reference 2).

The proposal submitted by Leeds Bradford Airport to construct a new passenger terminal and extend flight times is to facilitate an increase in passenger numbers. This is in direct conflict with the Government’s own aim of urgently decreasing carbon emissions to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.

It is also at odds with the policies of Leeds City Council. Leeds City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and committed to achieving a net zero carbon target by 2030. The Leeds Climate Commission of which Leeds City Council is a key partner, has said that “continued growth in aviation nationally, is incompatible with the climate emergency” (Reference 3).

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises the government on climate change, has said in 2019 that “in the absence of a true zero carbon plane demand [for aviation] cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long term.” Zero Carbon planes are not yet feasible in the time scale necessary to ensure we meet our commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Therefore, the only way we can reduce carbon emissions from the aviation sector is to decrease flight numbers.

In the CCC policy report (December 2020) on the sixth carbon budget, it says:

“The Government should include international aviation emissions within the Sixth Carbon Budget, subsequent carbon budgets and the 2050 Net Zero target. The forthcoming Aviation Decarbonisation Strategy should commit to a 2050 Net Zero goal for UK aviation, with use of verifiable GHG removals (but with limits), and set out demand management policies to ensure a trajectory to 2050 is achieved and that non-CO2 effects are addressed” (Reference 4).

Shipley Town Council has passed a Climate Emergency motion and believes that this proposal will prevent both our locality and our nation from tackling the climate emergency with the urgent action required.

Noise

Noise is one of the main adverse environmental effects of the airport. It is a very serious concern of the local community, which should carry heavy weight in the planning decision.

The proposed development may also contravene national policy on aviation, which is a material consideration. The UK’s Aviation Policy Framework 2013 “expects the aviation industry to make extra efforts to reduce and mitigate noise from night flights through use of best-in-class aircraft, best practice operating procedures, seeking ways to provide respite wherever possible and minimising the demand for night flights where alternatives are available.”

Contrary to this it looks like LBA is increasing noise, not reducing or mitigating it. The Town Council is particularly concerned about the increase in night flights. And LBA is not “sharing noise improvements with the community”, as required by national policy.

Shipley Town Council would like to stress that it does not support the increase window in flights that has been proposed.

Air Pollution

LBA accepts that the proposed development will have negative public health impacts: the ‘Planning Report’ states that some “adverse effects are likely to arise as a consequence of slight increases in disruption, disturbance and pollution near the airport”, although the assessment on a population-basis is “small”.

Of particular concern are PM 2.5s which are released by jet engines and contribute to surrounding air pollution, and are a major health concern, with regard to airports. Research is continually demonstrating that these ultrafine particulates have major health impacts and are being shown to impact on every organ in the body. A recent study (2019) (Reference 5) has shown that between 15% and 33% of all annual childhood asthma cases in Bradford may be associated with urban air pollution. The findings demonstrated the need to reduce childhood exposure to air pollution and traffic related air pollution through transport and land-use policies. Research by “Born in Bradford” has also shown that shown that during pregnancy, exposure to pollutants commonly found in the air, such as those from traffic, causes babies to be born at a lower birth weight, even where the pollution is at levels well below those allowed in current European Union (EU) air-quality rules. A low birth weight is serious because it is a predictor of other health problems in childhood and later life.

Safeguarding the local population from increased health impacts – especially children – must be a priority.

References

1.https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/810197/NPPF_Feb_2019_revised.pdf

2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sets-ambitious-new-climate-target-ahead-of-un-summit

3. https://leedsclimate.org.uk/news/aviation-emissions-leeds-pose-“major-challenge”-decarbonisation-city

4. https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Policies-for-the-Sixth-Carbon-Budget-and-Net-Zero.pdf

5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2046043018300546

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