Angry public meeting discusses Leeds Bradford Airport night flight concerns

Campaigners outside last night's public meeting. Photo: Ivor Hughes

Words: John Baron. Photos: Ivor Hughes

The row over night flights at Leeds Bradford International Airport intensified at a public meeting in Leeds last night.

More than 80 people attended the meeting in Cookridge after the airport applied to Leeds City Council for clarity over some of the rules surrounding quieter aircraft and emergency flights – but local residents and environmental campaigners fear this could open the floodgates for more night flights between 11pm and 7am.

Protests were also held outside while the public meeting was being held.

The meeting, which was organised by Westwood councillors, follows accusations that LBA has breached its summer season night flight quota for the second consecutive year.

The airport surpassed its 2,920 flight limit for the British Summer Time (BST) period last week, campaigners Group for Action on Leeds Bradford (GALBA) Airport has claimed. LBA has strongly denied this, saying under its interpretation of planning conditions it has not exceeded the limit.

Last night’s meeting was described as ‘polite but hostile’ by one attendee, with people under the flight path expressing their concerns about the impact of night flights on their lives.

Campaigners outside the public meeting in Cookridge. Photo: Ivor Hughes

Airport CEO Vincent Hodder said LBA is not seeking to change the planning conditions that apply to the airport.

“The CLEUD applications will provide a determination and clarify how the existing planning permission, written nearly 30 years ago, should operate,” he said.

“This will allow LBA to ensure that it remains compliant with the conditions in a complicated and changing landscape.”

But Nick Hodgkinson, from GALBA said: “They want to change the rules so they can fly at night and that would have consequences for people’s health and our climate.”

Westwood councillors with LBA boss Vincent Hodder. Photo: Ivor Hughes

Andy Tait, a GALBA member who lives under the flight path, said: “Night time flying is bad news for anyone under the flight path. It isn’t just people living close to the airport who are affected.

“GALBA has been contacted by people as far away as Beeston and Bramley, who tell us that noisy planes are the talk of the playground, particularly among autistic children. The disturbance from these flights is a major cause of all kinds of serious health issues. That’s why there are rules – to protect the public. And, of course, more night flights means more deadly greenhouse gases polluting our climate.”

GALBA says it has had communication from West Leeds residents expressing their concerns over night flights, in particular in Burley and Kirkstall, but also from Armley, Bramley and Pudsey.

Airport bosses have agreed to meet residents again over night flying issues and to answer written questions.


  1. There is a well know quote. ** The Needs of the Many, Outweigh the Needs of the Few.** This is really profound as it can relate to so many situations here and around the world.

    The needs of millions who need to travel by air, the needs of the thousands of jobs that rely on a successful airport, the needs of West Yorkshire to have an efficient cost effective local airport.

    Outweigh the few who live close to the airport, as the airport was there first.
    Outweigh the few who protest about the global situation. It is a balance between needs now and reduction of emissions over a longer term. When the world stops night flights, plans to stop I am sure LBA will be well in advance of their plans,

    Planes are more efficient than and better for the planet in international travel, than most other options. but will admit a Hot Air Balloon may be better, even though you would need fuel to keep heating the air.

  2. How come all the local press want to publish story’s that involve GALBA, they claim this than and the other without true facts, Leeds city council is monitoring the night flight quota this year after the airport breached it last year, we should be supporting the airport on how much money and jobs it brings into the local economy, not having a final the time, maybe a positive story about the airport West Leeds Dispatch? not just cheerleading GALBA

  3. Very funny comment above from Martin ‘the needs of the many’ – there are billions of people and animals currently impacted by rapidly changing climates due to fossil fuel accumulation but the ‘wishes’ of those wanting to use aviation seem to outweigh this.

  4. This lot have been campaigning against the airports very existence for donkeys years. More recently against airports new terminal but having won that pathetic battle are now turned attack on flights. Who is behind them?….Who funds them? How come they often appear on Calendar and Look North without any public counter argument.*
    Aye the airport has been there since the war so why do these people choose to live under flight path?
    * Contrast negative coverage with hours and hours of reports supporting Doncaster!

  5. The Airport has been there for years, why move near an airport if you dont like noise ?
    And how many of those residents have flown from LBA for a holiday when their return flight lands back at LBA between midnight and 3 am ? Quite a few I would say.
    What a shame the very noisy BAC 1-11s are no longer with us, then they would know what noise was.

  6. There is always the option to move. The huge majority of residents in the vicinity of the Airport are quiet happy to live here. Never bothers us. Move or leave it be.

  7. Where we live, (Leeds 3), there js much talk of anti-social behaviour.
    The worst anti-social behaviour we suffer on a daily basis is aircraft noise.
    We regularly see fuel dumping taking place directly over our homes.
    This is where aircraft empty their fuel tanks on their final approach to the airport.
    You can see the silver trails behind the wings of the plane … This is unburnt aircraft fuel being dumped into the atmosphere above our heads.
    Aircraft noise and pollution is ruining our lives.
    We must oppose any increase in permitted flying hours.
    It is bad enough already.

    • Utter nonsense I’m afraid.
      The “trails” you often see when aircraft are landing is precipitation effect of compressed air under the wing. Where in gawds name did you get idea this is dumping fuel??
      (Fuel is only ever dumped in emergencies and it’s then dispersed like aerosol)
      If this is the type of nonsense GALBA are circulating?

        • Ok John and sorry my post sounded like a rant…. BUT you need to accept the dumping of fuel in routine flights just doesn’t happen. Yes airline fuel is relatively cheap but not that cheap!!

  8. If you look at the figures there are 2 too many night flights per night. That is not a lot. Restrictions will result in the loss of our resource and maybe even demise like Doncaster. Come on NIMBY’s think of the majority

  9. Funny how some people commenting seem to dismiss everyone who has concerns about this as being from Galba.
    I’m not. Never had anything to do with them, probably never will. The public meeting was set up by local Weetwood councillors following concerns expressed by local residents. It wasn’t set up by Galba, although some representatives did attend.
    As this news report states, most concerns were from local residents about overnight noise and the potential impact of their lives.
    It might suit some people’s agendas to make it all about the green lobby, but I can assure you it ain’t.
    And it’s wholly right and proper that this issue is scrutinised and debated properly by local residents, politicians, at public meetings and in the press – we live in a democracy where different viewpoints should be heard.
    And before anyone says it – I’m happy living under the flight path during normal daytime hours, it doesn’t really affect us, but 24/7 is another thing entirely.
    The guy quoting Star Trek’s “Needs of the many…” mantra from a fictional alien did make me smile though.

  10. What a moaning set of NIMBYS. The airport generates millions for the local economy and along with Jet2 employs thousands in the city. It’s time the media reported on the benefits the airport brings to this city rather than continued pampering to the vocal and misguided minority!
    If you don’t like it move or at least buy a set of ear plugs!


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