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Government puts Leeds Bradford expansion decision on hold: AEF reaction

7th April, 2021

In response to the announcement that the Government has put Leeds Bradford Airport’s expansion plans on hold, AEF Deputy Director Cait Hewitt said:

This is the latest airport expansion proposal to run into difficulty over its likely impacts on climate change. While we welcome the fact that the Government has put the brakes on the Leeds Bradford proposal while it considers the application for a call-in, the underlying problem is that the Government has no plan in place for bringing aviation into line with the UK’s net zero emissions commitment. 

So far, the Government has tried to duck responsibility for assessing the CO2 impacts of all but the largest airport growth applications, leaving it to local authorities to have to weigh up the likely environmental impacts of a proposal. But there’s no mechanism for ensuring that the cumulative impact of schemes such as airport expansion or new roads doesn’t bust our carbon targets.

We’ve estimated that if all the expansions currently hoped for by UK airports were to proceed they could result in an extra 9MtCO2 per annum by 2050, on top of what the Government has already forecast.

Aviation currently has no clear path to decarbonisation. We won’t be able to achieve net zero if we keep expanding our airports.

Click here for a full list of the airports with live planning applications that would have significant CO2 impact if approved.