THE GROUP for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport has welcomed the decision to ‘call in’ controversial plans to expand the airport and hold a local inquiry.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, made the announcement this morning.

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “We’re very pleased with Mr Gove’s decision. It means that all of the consequences of LBA expansion will be properly considered by experienced planning experts. Among other things, the inquiry will look at ‘the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with Government policies for meeting the challenge of climate change’. Airport expansion is obviously inconsistent with tackling the climate crisis. Scientists have repeatedly said that we must cut all our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 to prevent a climate catastrophe. If LBA expands, its emissions would double.

“Thanks to the thousands of people who donated to GALBA’s campaign, we will be able to use experts in planning law, climate science, health and economics to explain to the inquiry why LBA expansion cannot be allowed. We will present evidence to show that expansion would also damage the health of our communities, from the additional noise and air pollution.”

He added: “Everyone knows cutting greenhouse gases is the most important challenge facing humanity and the people of Leeds and West Yorkshire have shown true climate leadership. We can choose to rebuild our economy in a sustainable way and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

No date has been set for the inquiry.

Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “While we are disappointed to see this decision taken after 10 months of deliberation, we remain convinced in the economic, environmental and customer service cases for our replacement terminal. Our proposals are robust and we are committed to being an outstanding airport for passengers. We hope this decision does not signal a lost opportunity to level up the North of England. The plans not only comply with national and regional legislation, but also present a faster way for us to meet our Net Zero Strategy and a welcome boost for the UK tourism industry to bounce back from the Pandemic.

“Our aim with this development has always been to bring the flight operating procedures of LBA in line with other UK and European airports – which are nearly 30 years old -, overhaul surface access solutions and deliver a level of passenger experience the Leeds City Region is striving to achieve. Blocking these changes would limit all of this and the region’s ambitions to become a modern, vibrant European city, attractive to the rest of the world as a place to invest.”

“We look forward to hearing the final decision in due course.”