ONE of the region’s largest business representative organisations has expressed disappointment with the decision not to build a new airport link road.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which supports business in Bradford, Leeds and York and North Yorkshire, has said the decision not to pursue the idea of a new link road from the A65 to the A658 North West of Leeds will further hamper access to Leeds Bradford Airport and the new North West Employment Hub.

Gerald Jennings, a Director of the Chamber and a major campaigner on transport issues, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that surface access to the airport needs improving. Without a new road link, existing problems will only increase and, while proposals for a connecting road from the A658 are welcome, they will only partially address access issues. A new parkway station is helpful but will be some distance from the airport itself, and there is no date yet for when it might open. A shift to public transport to get to and from the airport and the employment hub is needed, but the infrastructure needs to be in place as soon as possible to make this happen.”

The Chamber stressed that Leeds Bradford Airport is a major ‘gateway’ for many parts of Leeds City Region, such as Bradford and York, plus Leeds itself, and the proposed expansion and increase in routes is good for business, tourism and the economy generally. Reasons for not moving forward with the new road include a ‘lack of clear support’ and the need to tackle aviation emissions.

Mr Jennings added: “Encouraging new operators and flights relies on good airport access to support demand. In addition, reducing aircraft emissions is an industry-wide issue and not one that the airport should tackle on its own. It should also be acknowledged that the airport is one of the largest employers in that area. Without suitable infrastructure investment, its growth will be restricted with some users potentially going to other airports that meet their needs.”

Finally, the Chamber reiterated that the airport and the proposed employment hub are significant assets to Leeds City Region and that support is needed to ensure that the existing access issues are tackled sooner rather than later.