CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport have hit out over what they say are “misleading claims” about the plan.

Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) spoke out after it learnt Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, had been galvanising support for an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, asking that Leeds City Council’s approval of the new terminal be allowed to stand.

GALBA said the letter was leaked to them and that it is “clearly intended to obscure the grim reality of airport expansion”.

Chair Chris Foren said: “It has four serious flaws. First, and most obviously, it claims LBA’s planning application does not seek ‘an expansion of operations’. But the airport’s owners have been very clear they want to increase passenger numbers from four million per year to seven million. That would mean at least 15,000 more flights per year - that’s obviously an expansion. Secondly, Mr Murison does not mention at all the damage that expansion would do to our environment.

“Three million more passengers and 15,000 more flights means a massive increase in greenhouse gases.”

He added: “Doesn’t Mr Murison know that the government is set to include greenhouse gases caused by flying in its new target to reduce emissions by 78 per cent in the next 15 years? If LBA expands it would increase its emissions by 75 per cent in the next 10 years.”

Mr Foren said the letter does not mention the extension of daytime flying hours, which would mean “much more noise for tens of thousands more people in local communities”.

He said the letter implies the expansion would create 12,600 jobs and disputed this claim.

“We ask Mr Murison to retract the misleading claims in his letter. We will be writing to the Secretary of State to draw his attention to its errors and omissions,” Mr Foren said.

Mr Murison said in response: “Leeds Bradford Airport already has the approvals it needs to grow the number of passengers and flights.

“The new terminal - which is a replacement rather than a second terminal – will allow the airport to meet that demand and achieve net zero for ground operations through a greener, more energy-efficient building, while providing a better passenger experience.

“According to independently verified data, this development will create and support a total of over 12,000 jobs at a critical time post-Covid. Transforming transport connectivity across Yorkshire and the North is vital both to spearheading a recovery from the pandemic and rebalancing the UK economy in years to come.”