ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners are set to stage a demonstration outside Leeds Bradford Airport for Clean Air Day.

Extinction Rebellion is organising the protest at the airport (LBA) between noon and 3pm on Thursday, June 20.

The group says the action is being taken to highlight its opposition to LBA’s expansion plans, which are being supported by Leeds City Council.

A spokesman said: “The Youth Climate Strikers of Leeds have pushed the council to declare a climate emergency, but the council are not acting on their words.

“An expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport is not only a direct contradiction to this declaration but is set to put more lives at risk through the increased levels of air pollution it will force on the surrounding communities.

“In Leeds alone, seven hundred deaths every year can already be attributed to our local air pollution which is at levels that are breaking the law.

“Extinction Rebellion is calling on the council to withdraw its endorsement of the airport expansion and refuse to fund the expansion of the road network to accommodate it.

“We are asking all those who oppose the expansion to join us for the demo at the airport.

“This will be a peaceful protest and we encourage everyone to bring banners and placards to show the airport owners, city council and public that we won’t watch quietly while they destroy our futures.”

They added: “Economic development does not need to be based on building more roads and more flying.

“We call on Leeds to invest in sectors that do not jeopardise its climate targets or pollute the air we breathe.

“We need investment in creating carbon reducing industries that will provide sustainable profits and employment opportunities.”

One of Otley’s Town Councillors, Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield), will be taking part.

He said: “I am attending this peaceful protest against airport expansion because an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, from passenger numbers increasing from four million to seven million in a decade, is incompatible with Leeds becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“As a local councillor I am concerned that this will result in both increased air and noise pollution for local residents together with even more traffic and congested roads.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Leeds Bradford Airport, Hywel Rees, said: “We work in collaboration with our partners to minimise our impact on the environment and we value the feedback of interest groups.

“Air travel is increasingly essential to our region’s growth and economy and we always endeavour to balance that with regulatory obligations, which includes a responsibility to the environment.”

Leeds City Council's Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said: "The council is committed to making Leeds a carbon neutral city in order to limit the worst effects of climate change.

"The decision to expand the airport has been made by the private company running the airport in line with the Government’s national aviation policy. We recognise that expanding the airport will open up new international connections for the city, supporting international trade, tourism, and that forecasts estimate it will double the number of supported jobs to over 10,000 by 2030.

"The council has recently consulted on proposals for a new link road as well as a new Parkway rail station on the existing Harrogate line, with a regular shuttle bus link to the airport terminal. We are currently analysing the feedback we received and will share results as part of a consultation over the technical detail later in the year.

"Tackling the environmental impact of the aviation sector is beyond the power of any one local authority and we believe the Government must lead on this issue, taking both a national and international approach. As part of this, the Government must do more to develop cleaner aviation technologies and reduce the overall demand for air travel—particularly among the 15 per cent of the population responsible for around 70 per cent of flights.

"Individuals and organisations can also play a role by choosing to fly less, using modern technology for remote participation in meetings or by offsetting their own emissions. The council is actively exploring how we can make offsetting easier in a way that will also benefit the city’s environment directly and visibly."