THE GROUP for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport has written to Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, asking if he believes a public inquiry should be held to examine expansion plans.

The group says that in a recent BBC television interview Mr Andrew said it would have been better if LBA had made two, separate planning applications - one for the terminal building and one for changes to the flight regime.

Chris Foren, Chair of GALBA, said: “Many people may agree with Mr Andrew but that did not happen. LBA’s planning application has to be dealt with as it actually is. So we are keen to understand whether Mr Andrew now believes it should be decided at a public inquiry. And if he does, whether he will write to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urging him to ‘call in’ the decision. These are straightforward questions that deserve a straightforward answer.”

He continued: “Supporting the call for a public inquiry is the least he could do for his constituents, who will suffer a huge increase in noise if expansion is allowed. Expansion would also mean a massive increase in climate-damaging greenhouse gases from the 16,000 additional flights every year. That’s bad news for all of us. It’s also bad news for the government of which Mr Andrew is a member. The government has committed to cutting the UK’s emissions by 78% by 2035 and will include greenhouse gases from flying in our emissions reduction target.”

Mr Foren added: “Five local MPs have already given their support for a public inquiry: Philip Davies (Conservative), Hilary Benn (Labour), Alex Sobel (Labour), Fabian Hamilton (Labour) and Richard Burgon (Labour). It’s time for Stuart Andrew to add his voice to theirs.”

Last week, three West Yorkshire teenagers hand-delivered a petition, signed by more than 55,000 people, to the Communities Secretary on behalf of GALBA. The petition calls for a public inquiry. GALBA has also joined a network of 16 national and local airport campaigns calling on the government to impose an immediate moratorium on all proposed UK airport expansions.

In April Mr Andrew said: “Leeds Bradford Airport is a major employer locally and I have had discussions with a number of constituents who work there who are understandably anxious about their jobs given the impact of the pandemic on aviation.

“The proposal to replace the old terminal, with a carbon neutral facility of a similar scale to the current one, has my support. It is a massive improvement environmentally and our city needs and deserves a better-quality gateway into and out of our region.

“This investment will reassure many of those who depend on the airport for their livelihood. The fact that it is closer to the proposed train station is also to be welcomed. I have long advocated a rail link as a way of reducing the number of cars travelling there which is why I campaigned so actively against the Council’s proposed Link Road.

“That said, the Government have set in law a much more ambitious climate target, cutting emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. That means that we need to look at the number of flights and their times in more detail to ensure we are doing our bit to contribute to this effort and to avoid creating unreasonable noise nuisance for residents.

“I believe it was wrong that the plans panel were not given the opportunity to look at the flying hours part of the application separately to the new terminal building. I am, therefore, exploring this further to ensure we can safeguard the investment and secure local jobs whilst also ensuring the new ambitious target for emissions is met.”