A LIMIT on the number of night-time flights allowed at Leeds Bradford Airport was breached last year, an investigation has found.

Leeds City Council said there were 3,497 night flights during the 2023 summer season, 577 more than was permitted.

But the airport will not face further action from the council over the breach, a decision criticised by campaigners who made complaints over alleged rule-breaking.

The airport was given a requirement to operate no more than 2,920 night flights during summer seasons.

A previous investigation found the airport exceeded the permitted number of  summer night movements by 25 per cent in 2022, the council said.

Leeds-Bradford Airport’s (LBA) designated night-time period is 11pm-7am. Airport bosses said they were “disappointed” with the council’s decision and were confident in their interpretation of planning conditions.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “The council has completed its investigation into the airport’s alleged non-compliance with a breach of condition notice issued in June last year.

“Having assessed all relevant matters, the council has concluded that the airport has not complied with the notice.

“The council does not consider, however, that the public interest test for bringing a prosecution in relation to the non-compliance has been met at this time.

“This cost would far outweigh the £2,500 maximum fine that could be imposed on conviction.”

The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) welcomed the council’s findings.

But GALBA chairman Nick Hodgkinson said: “This is ridiculous. The council has agreed with us that LBA broke the rules 577 times last summer but they’re not going to do anything about it.

“Every extra night flight means more harm to people’s health and more pollution, damaging our climate and the air we breathe.”

The council said it had also refused two applications from the airport in Yeadon that would exclude some flights from counting towards night movements.

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) applications are used to determine whether certain operations are lawful under existing planning permission.

LBA chief executive Vincent Hodder said: “We’re disappointed with this decision notified by Leeds City Council today, refusing two certificates of lawfulness.

“We remain confident in our legal opinion of the planning conditions and will be considering what this means for the airport and the appropriate next steps.

“The two applications relate to a relatively small proportion of night movements and we do not anticipate that this will result in a material change to the operation of the airport.”

Two further CLEUD applications from the airport are yet to be determined, Leeds City Council said.

The council spokesperson added: “The applications were refused after being assessed against an evidential and legal test.

“This means that certain types of aircraft movement will continue to count towards the limit on the airport’s permitted number of night-time flights.

“We are continuing to assess the complex technical data submitted in relation to the other two applications, which are due to be determined by July 8.”