SEVERAL hundred residents of Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston attended Leeds Bradford Airport’s drop-in session last Thursday in Salem Church Hall, Burley, to find out more about the new airspace change proposals.

A previous consultation meeting in High Royds, Menston, on September 27 produced criticism because of the short notice given, difficult venue and the wrong meeting format.

Peter Jenkins, Burley’s representative on the airport consultative committee, said: “In spite of requests from district councillors and the two villages themselves, LBA repeated the drop-in format instead of a formal presentation followed by questions and answers which would have enabled all visitors to get the same detailed information and benefit from the questions of others.

“After intense lobbying by MP Philip Davies, the district councillors and by Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston LBA agreed to hold a meeting in Burley on Thursday, November 2, just three days before the close of the consultation period on Sunday, November 5, but insisted that it be another drop-in session rather than the formal type of presentation requested by the two communities.

“LBA’s offer was accepted so that local residents could have the opportunity to attend a better advertised meeting on these important proposals which are likely to remain in force for decades.

“A similar meeting in Menston, which had been understood as agreed, was denied.

“Recently LBA has agreed, after further pressure, to extend the closing date for submissions, firstly by four days and finally by 11 days until November 16.

“Apart from the showing of an interesting video, last Thursday’s meeting followed the format of the previous meetings, and there was little acknowledgement either of the areas of increased noise, due to the proposed sharp left turn on leaving the swathe, estimated for Burley and referred to in the Consultation Document Addendum or of the prospect of increased flights due to LBA’s objective of doubling the number of passengers in 13 years as described in LBA’s Strategic Development Plan ‘Route to 2030’.

“Those who wanted to take their feedback forms home, or write their own letters in slower time, were hampered by the initial lack of feedback address.

“Comments should be sent to LBA Consultation Response, Osprey Consulting Services, Office 21, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln LN6 7FL, or email”

Councillor Gerry Barker (Con, Wharfedale) said: “Having attended briefing and consultation meetings with LBA staff, I am still unclear in my own mind of what will be the effect of the changes that LBA plan to introduce.

“Will there be more or less noise? Will the flight-path be over parts of Menston and Burley villages, or be between them? I have received conflicting answers to both of these questions, depending upon whom I have asked at LBA. I am, surely, not the only one and this response from LBA is not good enough.

“I am also led to believe that the changes will not be implemented until the autumn of next year, so why is there a rush to push through this consultation period now? Could it be anything to do with national proposals governing the health of the public with regard to aircraft pollution that comes into operation next year? Or that the CAA has launched its Noise Impact Survey which will report next year?

“These changes will affect residents for decades to come and they deserve to have their concerns heard, but I fear that the residents of Menston and Burley are getting a rough deal from LBA.

“I would like to see a proper presentation being held at a forum suited to the occasion and residents not being fobbed off with a piece-meal consultation process that is not fit for purpose.”