By David Spereall, local democracy reporter
Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) has run nearly 500 night-time flights more than it was allowed this summer, campaigners have claimed.
Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) say the site has broken its night flights quota for a second year running.
The airport has repeated its denials of the claim, insisting it is under the limit for the British Summer Time (BST) period under its “interpretation” of the rules.
GALBA had first suggested the quota, which is supposed to limit night-time activity at the airport for the benefit of local residents, was broken last month.
They’ve now specifically said that 473 planes more than permitted ran between late March and this weekend, when the clocks went back.
Chris Foren, GALBA’s chair said: “In June, LBA’s boss, Vincent Hodder, accepted that the airport had broken the night flight rules in 2022.
“He publicly apologised and said that it would never happen again. Yet here we are, six months later, and LBA has broken the rules again by over 470 flights.
“The night flight rules exist to protect public health and our environment – LBA should be forced to stick to them.”
In September, the airport said it was seeking clarity from Leeds City Council about the planning conditions which limit night-time activity at the airport.
It’s applied for a series of certificates of lawful development from the local authority, which campaigners say would allow it to effectively ditch the night-flight cap if they’re granted.
The airport denies this, with CEO Vincent Hodder telling residents at a public meeting in Cookridge earlier this month that the airport doesn’t have the capacity to run unlimited flights in any case.
Responding to GALBA’s latest claim, a spokesperson for LBA said: “We are currently following a process to clarify the correct interpretation of planning conditions governing night time flights at LBA with Leeds City Council.
“We have submitted certificates of lawfulness for existing use or development to the council, to establish what is lawful.
“From our interpretation of the planning conditions, which are nearly 30 years old, the number of flights subject to night restrictions this summer is less than the 2,920 permitted.”
A council spokesperson confirmed it had received GALBA’s complaint, adding: “This remains a live and ongoing investigation and as a consequence the council is not in a position to comment further at this stage.”
A decision on whether or not to grant the airport the certificates they’ve requested was initially expected this week, but WLD understands it’s now set to be made on November 22.
Earlier this month the airport announced work was about to start on a £100 million terminal expansion and refurbishment project.
This year, the airport is expected to contribute a total of £460 million to the local economy, directly employing 2,100 people and indirectly supporting 4,500 jobs.