‘DON’T let us down’.

That is the plea being made by young climate activists who are calling on Leeds City Council to reject plans for a new airport terminal.

Leeds Bradford Airport is seeking permission to create a new, £150 million building to replace its current terminal which dates back to the 1960s.

The airport (LBA) says the development would result in ‘one of the most sustainable airport buildings in the UK’.

Environmental campaigners, however, are adamant that LBA’s growth plan - the new terminal will enable it to welcome seven million passengers a year by 2030 - flies in the face of attempts to tackle global warming.

Leeds YouthStrike4Climate (Leeds YS4C) have just sent an open letter to the city council’s leaders which reminds them that they declared a Climate Emergency in March, 2019.

It says: “You told us you were ready to act on our calls for change. We believe you meant this, but now is the time to prove it - Leeds City Council must reject Leeds Bradford Airport’s dangerous expansion plans.”

It goes on to claim that the airport’s expansion would make it ‘impossible’ for Leeds City Council to keep its promise to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.

It also says that the resulting increase in flights, should the terminal proposals proceed, will mean more noise - and points out that there are ‘36 schools under the flight-path’.

Leeds climate striker Annwen Thurlow said: “Our house is already on fire - we cannot let this expansion add more fuel. The council has a responsibility to protect our health and wellbeing.

“That means they must ‘measure what matters’ and recognise that the health of people and the planet are worth far more than the profit of polluters.

“Are they determined to meet their bold and inspiring commitments on the climate emergency? Or will they pass the buck on emissions and allow this to go ahead? Young people in Leeds and across the world are relying on them. So we say to them - please don’t let us down.”

Leeds YS4C activist Robbie Strathdee added: “The flight-path cuts right across the city, so expansion would do damage to some of Leeds’ most disadvantaged communities. “We can make Leeds fairer and greener, bringing hope out of heart-break to ‘Build Back Better’ following the COVID-19 crisis. A green recovery for Leeds could look like whatever we want and need as a city - but it cannot look like an expanded airport.”

The full letter can be read at https://www.change.org/LeedsYS4C-AnOpenLetter.

LBA disputes claims that there would be an increase in flight noise if its plan is approved, due to modern aircraft becoming ‘significantly quieter’.

The airport’s CEO, Hywel Rees, has also insisted that the new terminal is necessary ‘to bring LBA into the modern era’ and would help ‘kick start the Yorkshire economy and...provide long term, high-value, knowledge-based jobs in the future’.