£150m Leeds Bradford Airport expansion plans scrapped after years of controversy

Plans for a new terminal building at Leeds Bradford Airport has been scrapped following "excessive" delays, years of controversy, and calls for a public enquiry.

Airport bosses said they are not prepared to commit more money over an "indefinite timeframe".

Instead, they will now revert to original plans to extend to the existing terminal to meet increasing passenger demand as the aviation sector recovers from the pandemic.

Planning permission for the £150m upgrade was originally granted by Leeds City Council last year, despite strong opposition from environmental campaigners.

Protesters against the plans included climate scientists, transport experts, residents’ groups, and medical professionals. They warned it would facilitate catastrophic climate change, as well as cause unbearable and harmful levels of noise pollution for those living close by.

Campaigners and climate academics were strongly against the expansion, calling for flights in and out of Leeds to be dramatically reduced.

LBA terminal artist's impression

The plan was to demolish the existing passenger pier to make way for a new terminal building and forecourt area.

However, in January, the government overruled that decision and called for a public inquiry. At the time, it was criticised by airport bosses, who said it would be "highly sustainable and boost the local economy."

Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, welcomed the decision. He said he hopes the airport enter discussions about reducing aviation emissions.

Last year, he said in an open letter that the plans must be stopped for the good of future generations.

Today Leeds Bradford Airport said it is still committed to creating a modern, decarbonised regional UK airport.

Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: "Whilst this is a setback for our airport and region, we remain committed to investing in LBA to be an outstanding, decarbonised, modern airport for the future."

"My team and I are optimistic about the recovery from the pandemic and about the future of Leeds Bradford Airport."

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) said that the news was a "victory for our climate and communities".

Chris Foren, chair of the group. said: "We are delighted that LBA has acknowledged defeat. It means that LBA cannot extend daytime flying hours nor remove nighttime flying controls.

"As they said in their own planning application, this means they don't have the capacity to increase passenger numbers above 5 million a year."

A Department for Levelling Up spokesperson said: “Leeds Bradford Airport have notified the Planning Inspectorate that they have withdrawn their planning application to extend the airport. We have noted this decision.

 “We are committed to firing up Yorkshire’s economic engine and are taking decisive action to spread opportunity and investment away from the South East and our £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund is investing in infrastructure and upgrading transport across the UK.”