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HomeNewsAirport investigation still ‘ongoing’ as campaigners fear ‘night flight misery’

Airport investigation still ‘ongoing’ as campaigners fear ‘night flight misery’

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

Leeds City Council says its investigation into claims Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) broke strict night flight rules remains “ongoing”.

The airport is being probed over suggestions it ran around 600 more night-time flights than it was allowed over the course of last summer.

Campaigners Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), who made the allegations against the airport last October, have warned of “another year of night flight misery”, if the council does not deliver its findings soon.

It’s understood that the local authority is unlikely to finish the investigation for another several weeks at least.

In a letter to the West Leeds Dispatch last week, GALBA said: “The 2022 summer season is still very fresh in the memory – a season of excessive aircraft noise, both late at night and early in the morning.

“‘Excessive’ is the appropriate word. GALBA monitored night flights and found that the official limit, of almost 3,000 flights, had been exceeded by more than 600 flights.”

“Night flights are strictly limited by a planning condition imposed by Leeds City Council. This is for good reasons – noise from night flights is a proven cause of mental and physical health problems, and every additional flight means more air pollution and more damage to our climate.”

Victoria Smith, who lives under the flight path in Kirkstall, said: “Last summer was a nightmare for me, with incredibly loud noise from flights starting at 6am and going on till 3 or 4 the following morning.

“I don’t begrudge anyone their annual holiday but there has to be a limit on the amount of flying at night and the airport has to stick to those limits. They didn’t and no-one is doing anything about it. Why isn’t Leeds City Council enforcing its own rules? They have a responsibility to their citizens but they’re just sitting on their hands and now we face the prospect of another sleepless summer.”

GALBA was set up by local residents in 2019 to fight the airport’s expansion plans, on environmental grounds.

Those plans were later abandoned, but the group continues to oppose the site’s ambitions to run more flights.

When the flight breach claims first emerged in October, Leeds Bradford Airport said it took its responsibilities “seriously” and that it would continue to report on them in an “open and transparent way”.

In its letter last week, GALBA said it was “still waiting for a response” from the council, five months after it made the allegations.

It added: “In the meantime, LBA has published its 2023 schedule. Does LBA intend to breach the limit again? If the council inaction continues, we face the prospect of another year of night flight misery.”

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “Our analysis of the 2022 night flight data for Leeds Bradford Airport remains ongoing.

“As this is a live investigation, consistent with our protocols, it would not be appropriate for the council to comment further at this stage. Once the investigation is completed, the results will be communicated as appropriate.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone who lives within 10 miles of an airport will have some impact on noise levels, but I don’t think it is any louder than motor bikes and cars with loud exhaust noise passing my home day and night. There are too many moaners and groaners in Leeds. The airport can’t move, but people can.

  2. I don’t live under the flighpath but I am near the airport, and it was particularly noisy over last summer. The rules are in place for a reason and many people saw them as some re-assurance when they bought their houses, it is wrong that the airport can just ignore them, so I welcomed this investigation. I don’t know why it is taking so long though, maybe some council members have a financial interest in the airport’s operations?

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