CAMPAIGNERS are claiming that thousands more people will hear flights if Leeds Bradford Airport's expansion plans proceed.

The airport is currently seeking permission to create a new £150 million terminal which would enable it to increase annual passenger numbers to seven million by 2030.

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) is among those opposing the move - largely on the grounds of its impact on the environment.

The airport's proposals include easing a number of restrictions on flights. GALBA claims those changes would result in 26,100 more people hearing between one and 50 more planes on an average summer day and 'a staggering 126,000 more people' being exposed to increased aircraft noise at night.

GALBA Chair Chris Foren said: "The airport’s owners avoid talking to the press about the extra noise that their plans would cause. No wonder when you look at the facts! And it could well be even worse.

"LBA have assumed that airlines would use newer, quieter aircraft in and out of LBA. Post-Covid, this assumption looks very shaky. Airlines are seriously short of cash - can they really afford to buy a fleet of brand new planes?"

Leeds Bradford Airport, however, is disputing those claims and says they are based on a misunderstanding of the data. A spokesperson said: “We have been very clear in our proposals about how we will reduce the impact of noise.

"Not only are aircraft already becoming much quieter with technology and new innovations, but we have also performed a detailed and robust assessment on noise, compiled by leading experts, which is publicly available on Leeds City Council’s planning portal and illustrates how the noise impact will be minimal.

"The public is free to review these evidence-based analyses and their sources via the portal and make a decision on its merits, rather than unsubstantiated hearsay.

"We are pleased that many in the business community and general public have submitted their views through the proper judicial process, and we urge the pubic and interested parties to visit the portal and read the facts for themselves."

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) is opposing the airport's terminal proposal due to environmental concerns, on the basis that its 'underlying business model...means an increase in flights'.

MP Stuart Andrew (Con, Pudsey) supports the new terminal in principle - but also has concerns about increased flights. He said: "I appreciate that a new terminal is needed and also that the airport is an important employer in our region.

"I do share concerns about the proposed increase in flying hours and I feel restrictions on this must be put in place to ensure there is no negative impact on the local community and environment.

"If operational hours are to be altered binding conditions must be imposed on any aircraft flying between the hours of 6am and 7am and 11pm and 11:30pm. To ensure there is no increase in existing aircraft noise, restrictions must be placed on the noise levels of aircraft that are able to fly during these hours and a reduction in the number of night-time aircraft operations permitted is also desirable.

"I also feel it is necessary to impose conditions that require the terminal to actually be constructed ahead of any associated extended flying hours being permitted to go ahead, and for construction hours and routes for any construction traffic to be restricted to prevent any detrimental impact on the community."