EXTINCTION Rebellion will stage a protest today against the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport.

Activists will hold a socially distanced demonstration outside Civic Hall in Leeds, urging Leeds City Council's Plans Panel to reject the airport's expansion plans.

During the protest at 12.30pm they will unfurl a banner with the message "fly today, gone tomorrow" - a slogan which the group says sums up its ideological stance against short term economic growth being prioritised over long term prosperity.

The airport’s plans, which were submitted to the City Plans Panel and published online on May 13, have been decried by environmental campaigners mainly for their proposal to increase flights and extended flying hours.

Under the new plans, Leeds Bradford Airport would increase its passenger numbers from four million per year to seven million per year by 2030, and opposition groups say extended flight times would increase noise pollution.

Recently published research from Leeds University says the greenhouse gas emissions from LBA flights, even at current levels, will exceed the entire ‘carbon budget’ that Leeds City Council has set itself in order to achieve its target of zero carbon emissions by 2030.

In a statement issued today Extinction Rebellion said:"By expanding Leeds Bradford Airport, Leeds would secure short term economic growth by ignoring longer term issues such as the climate crisis and public health risks caused by increased emissions. Leeds is heavily polluted already, with air quality often exceeding the World Health Organisation’s safe limit.

"We understand people’s desire for the short term security of economic growth, but the climate crisis is unique. It forces us to make bold choices now in order to avoid being faced with impossible choices later, such as whether or not we can sustain our population once man-made climate change has rendered large tracts of land unfarmable and air unbreathable. We will not have job security and economic prosperity if we continue to damage public health and contribute to catastrophic climate change as we currently are.

"Follow the lead of the supreme court on Heathrow and stop this expansion. Let Leeds set a progressive precedent and invest in sustainable infrastructure. For this nation to reach its crucial carbon neutral ambitions, airports across the country will be forced to curb their flights anyway eventually. It’s senseless for us to invest in keeping our heads above water in an outdated industry which is proven to damage public health."

Leeds Bradford Airport says its proposed three floor replacement terminal will be "one of the UK’s most environmentally efficient airport buildings."

Chief Executive of LBA, Hywel Rees, said: "We are committed to the future of LBA and bringing our plans to fruition if approved.

"This significant investment in the airport will protect and create new jobs, boost international connectivity and comes at a time when the region and sector need to turbo-charge the economic recovery."

The plan, reference number 20/02559/FU, can be viewed at www.leeds.gov.uk/planning/planning-permission/view-and-comment-on-planning-application.