Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds Extinction Rebellion airport expansion 'die-in'

Extinction Rebellion protest in Leeds
Image caption Protesters targeted a full council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall

Climate change activists have staged a "die-in" to protest against airport expansion plans.

Extinction Rebellion joined people who live near Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) to chant "no more planes" during a meeting of all Leeds City Councillors.

Protesters have urged the council to withdraw support of the expansion.

The council declared a climate emergency in March but protesters said it would not meet its carbon reduction targets if the expansion went ahead.

The £12m airport plans, supported by Leeds and Bradford Councils and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, include a three-storey terminal extension and new link roads to improve access.

A two-storey aircraft pier would replace the current pier.

Council chiefs said the changes would boost the regional's economic growth by about £3bn and, if approved, the new building could be open by the end of the year.

But Extinction Rebellion said pushing on with airport expansion plans was "incompatible" with the climate emergency declaration.

"The council are not acting on their words," an Extinction Rebellion spokesman said.

"It has been, and continues to be an enthusiastic backer of the £100m airport road development across the green belt."

Image copyright Extinction Rebellion
Image caption Extinction Rebellion campaigners and residents gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall

Extinction Rebellion said research showed emissions from LBA, even at current levels, would exceed the entire "carbon budget" set by Leeds council in an attempt to achieve its zero carbon target by 2030.

"Continued support for airport expansion indicates the council is not facing up to its responsibilities," it said.

Dru Long, who lives in Holt Park near the planned link road, said: "Leeds simply cannot meet its carbon reduction targets if the expansion goes ahead.

"It's time for the council to show it is serious about the climate emergency we face."

Image copyright Leeds Bradford Airport
Image caption The airport hopes the new terminal extension will be open by the end of the year

Extinction Rebellion said backing the airport and roads investment was "fundamentally incompatible with ensuring a liveable future for citizens."

"We won't watch quietly while they destroy our futures," it added.

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