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Leeds Bradford Airport expansion, UK

A Victory of the environmental justice movement and communities. The multiple strategies and resistance during 2022 stopped the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport


Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) is a relatively small regional airport in northern England. In early 2020, LBA asked for permission from the local government (Leeds City Council) to expand from 4 million to 7 million passengers per year [8]. This involved building a new passenger terminal, extending the definition of ‘night’ by 1 hour 30 minutes and increasing the number of flights allowed to take off and land during the night.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Leeds Bradford Airport expansion, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:West Yorkshire
Location of conflict:Leeds and West Yorkshire
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

LBA sought permission: to increase its passenger numbers from 4 million to 7 million per year; to build a new passenger terminal at a cost of £150 million; to extend the definition of ‘night’ by 1 hour 30 minutes; and to allow more flights at ‘night’

Level of Investment for the conflictive project178,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:20,000 - 50,000
Start of the conflict:01/11/2019
Company names or state enterprises: AMP Capital from Austria
Relevant government actors:Local government, Leeds City Council; national government, Secretary of State for Leveling Up
International and Finance InstitutionsAMP Capital
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:GALBA - Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport
Friends of the Earth UK:
Stay Grounded UK:
Green Sky Thinking:
Aviation Environment Federation:
Extinction Rebellion Leeds:
Greenhouse ThinkTank:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) responded to the news that LBA had withdrawn its controversial expansion plans [1].
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “This is a victory for our climate and our communities - 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.” “We will keep a close eye on what the airport’s Australian owners do next. We will act again if they try to break any rules. We remain ready to continue the fight to protect our climate and communities. But for today, we’re celebrating success!”
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[4] GALBA report: A Green New Deal for Leeds City Region
[click to view]

Professor Julia K. Steinberger 1,2 , Professor Paul Chatterton 3 , Dr Declan Finney 2, Jefim Vogel 2, MSc. Objection to LBA planning application, ref: 20-02559-FU with particular reference to ES Volume 1 chapter 7: Climate Change
[click to view]

[1] Campaigners Against Airport Expansion Celebrate Success as LBA Withdraws its Planning Application
[click to view]

[2] 19/01/2022 Public inquiry to decide the future of Leeds Bradford Airport
[click to view]

[3] GALBA Condemns Leeds City Council Decision to Back LBA at Public Inquiry
[click to view]

[5] Press Release: YouGov Poll Shows UK Business Air Travel Will Not Recover to Pre-Covid Levels
[click to view]

[6] YouGov research: an online survey of business travellers and their experience of the changes in business travel.
[click to view]

[7] Government under pressure to stop Leeds Bradford airport expansion. The Guardian
[click to view]

[8] Plans for expansion of Leeds Bradford airport put on hold. The Guardian
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[9] GALBA website
[click to view]

Fantastic animation provided by Christopher Harry. Leeds City Council's Carbon Reduction Money Would be Wasted by LBA Expansion
[click to view]

Press Release: Campaigners from Across UK Join GALBA to Call on Gov to Stop Airport Expansion Plans
[click to view]

Press Release:Climate & Aviation Campaigners Protest as Gov Launches Controversial Jet Zero Strategy
[click to view]

GALBA Calls on LBA Owners to Invest £125m in West Yorkshire to Create Jobs that Cut Fuel Bills
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Nick Hodgkinson, Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA): [email protected]
Last update20/09/2022
Conflict ID:5838
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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