Green Party councillors in Farnley & Wortley are demanding that tens of millions of pounds of public money should not go towards new roads to support the expansion of Leeds-Bradford Airport.
The letter calls on senior figures within the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership – which includes the local authority districts of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York – to use the money to support other forms of transport.
They say alternate uses for the cash – as much as £100m – such as “affordable, safe and sustainable” public transport links, including trams, to reduce carbon emissions.
The letter reads:
“You will, of course, be aware that only a few weeks ago Leeds City Region and its constituent councils declared a Climate Emergency in response to the stark warnings on the threat of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the fact that we have a limited amount of time to bring our emissions under control.
“Proposals to invest public money in transport links to Leeds Bradford Airport are aimed at supporting its expansion plans which can only mean more flights and more carbon emissions making our chances of hitting our net zero carbon emissions target by 2038 remote if not impossible.”
The councillors say:
“This contradiction needs to be addressed.
“As Green Party Councillors in the Leeds City Region we are calling on you to oppose the use of public funds to improve transport links to Leeds Bradford airport and for that funding to be reinvested in projects that will significantly reduce carbon emissions.
“I am sure you will agree with us that declaring a climate emergency and then making no changes to those actions which are in conflict with that policy makes no sense.”
A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said:
“A public consultation on three options for the airport link road was held earlier this year and the responses are being considered.
“A further round of technical consultation will be released later this year. Carbon modelling is being undertaken as part of the development of these options.
“Unmanaged growth in air travel is inconsistent with achieving national and international carbon reduction targets, which is why we want the Government to set out a national approach to aviation and its contribution to tackling the climate emergency.”