HEALTH care professionals led a protest of more than 100 people against expansion at Leeds Bradford Airport.

The demonstration outside the airport was organised by Medact Leeds and called on Leeds City Council to reverse its controversial decision to allow the airport's planning application for a replacement terminal.

They argued that the public health risks to Leeds Bradford and the surrounding areas resulting from doubling air and noise pollution had not been adequately considered.

Dr Mia Thomas, a Leeds paediatrician, spoke of her concern for asthmatics for whom more pollution means more frequent attacks. She said Leeds Council had set a target of net zero for 2030 - but she claimed approving airport expansion would double emissions.

Keighley GP Dr Richard Solomons said: "Holidaymakers and people going to see relatives are not the problem, 15 per cent of flyers take 70 per cent of the flights. We don’t need to double the pollution and double our health risk and more flooding in order to provide more flights for the frequent flyers who already have more than their share.”

Protestors are urging Leeds City Council to withdraw its support for the application. they say there would be a precedent for this as Stansted Council withdrew its support for airport expansion.

Campaigners at Leeds Medact and Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) are urging local people to write to their councillor and MP’s.

They said: “We must not let this issue get swept under the carpet. We must keep pressure on our leaders, locally and nationally: tell them you want your sleep, you don’t want dirty air, you don’t want climate change and more floods. Tell them to withdraw support for Leeds Council Planning approval.”

A spokesperson for Leeds Bradford Airport said: “We welcome all feedback and understand the concerns presented. LBA’s application is not about expansion, but about achieving what we already have consent to do in a more sustainable way, building cleaner and greener infrastructure for the future. Development will make LBA an outstanding net zero airport ahead of government targets on sustainable aviation with a much-improved passenger experience, connecting Yorkshire with other parts of the country and the world for business and tourism whilst creating thousands of jobs in the process. Leeds City Council recognised these benefits when approving the proposals earlier this year and we hope the Government will see through on its promise to level up the north of England and sign off approval in due course.”

The spokesperson added: “Combatting air pollution is an international effort and we are committed to play our part locally. We have been monitoring air quality, both inside and outside the airport boundary, since the mid-1990s, measuring levels of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide). The results reveal we have continually maintained NO2 levels well below the required national air quality standards. As part of our proposal we conducted an extensive environmental survey, which demonstrates that the terminal development will not cause a significant adverse impact on air quality, subject to an appropriate mitigation strategy. We will also continue to work with our airline partners to improve efficiency, including encouraging them to taxi in and out on fewer engines, as well as bringing in incentives for the use of newer more fuel-efficient aircraft.”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “The council recognises that the Leeds Bradford Airport planning application has been the subject of much public debate and, from the moment it was first submitted, full and proper attention has been paid to the evidence and arguments put forward by supporters and opponents alike, including matters in relation to public health. It should also be noted that the application was assessed on its own individual merits as part of the council’s normal planning process.

“There were a large number of matters for plans panel members to consider during this process, including the council’s declaration of a climate emergency and the issue of increasing carbon emissions from flights. Current government policy points to these emissions being something that should be primarily tackled at a national level – and addressed through international agreements and protocols – rather than by suppressing growth at individual airports in a way that could simply export passengers to other nearby airports at a higher financial cost to them and increase surface transport emissions.

“When it met in February, the city plans panel also took into account matters such as the impact of aircraft noise on residents and the airport’s proposals for noise mitigation and landscaping as well as planned accessibility improvements designed to encourage a greater proportion of passengers and staff to use public transport for their journeys to and from the site.

“In addition, the airport’s plans showed that the proposed new terminal would replace the outdated and inefficient existing terminal and be built to a higher standard of environmental performance that would also provide an improved ‘gateway’ to Leeds, with an associated creation of new jobs.

“Opponents of the plans have asked the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ‘call in’ – or review – the council’s decision to approve the application. The Secretary of State has yet to say if he is minded to agree to the request, having confirmed in April that he would be taking some additional time to consider the matter.”