The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) has welcomed today’s decision by Leeds City Council to issue a ‘breach of condition’ notice against Leeds Bradford Airport for breaking the rules that limit the number of night flights in summer 2022. GALBA described the Council’s enforcement action as necessary to stop the airport violating the rules and damaging people’s health again this year.
- Leeds Bradford Airport have been found in breach of the planning condition that restricts night-time movements, exceeding the number of permitted night-time movements by 25% during the 2022 summer season.
- The council received a complaint in October 2022 which was investigated in accordance with the established processes and protocols, set out in the council’s local enforcement Plan. As part of this investigation, compliance against all the planning conditions was assessed. The investigation received full co-operation from Leeds Bradford Airport.
- Following a robust analysis of the data, the investigation concluded that during the 2022 summer season there were 3667 night-time movements, exceeding the cap imposed by 747.
A breach of condition notice has therefore been served by the council which Leeds Bradford Airport has accepted. As part of this notice the airport have accepted the requirement to adhere to the limits set out in their 2007 planning consent.
A revised monitoring framework has been put in place by the airport, to be reviewed by the Leeds City Council on a monthly basis, to ensure continued compliance with all of the planning conditions.
The local planning authority must work within the framework and constraints of the planning regulations, however, failure to comply with a breach of condition notice is a criminal offence that is liable to prosecution through the courts. If Leeds Bradford Airport fails to adhere to the limits set out in the 2007 planning consent there are other subsequent measures and steps that the council can take, such as an enforcement notice to ensure compliance.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said:
Leeds City Council understands the public concerns which have been raised regarding night-time flight movements and have investigated this matter thoroughly, in accordance with our established procedures.
This has concluded that a breach has occurred, leading to a formal notice being served on Leeds Bradford Airport, which they have accepted. The airport has since put in place measures to prevent future instances, which will be subject to regular monitoring to ensure continued compliance to planning conditions.
We will continue to monitor the situation and if required the council has many further options it can pursue including, but not limited to, an Enforcement Notice. It is also important to note that a Breach of Condition Notice offers the most expedient response to resolve this issue for the people of Leeds, with no right of appeal from Leeds Bradford Airport.
If the Breach of Condition Notice is not complied with this can escalate into summary prosecution that can be brought in the Magistrates’ Court for the offence of contravening a breach of condition notice.
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said:
Last year, we told the Council that we believed there had been over 600 more flights than allowed at night from LBA during the 2022 summer season. It turns out there were actually 747 over the limit! We’re pleased that the Council has accepted our complaint and is taking enforcement action. Sadly, the Council has no power to impose a fine but the breach of condition notice is important. It should mean the airport doesn’t break the night flight rules again this summer – that’s good news for local people and for the environment.
We’ve said all along that the airport’s bosses cannot be trusted and this shows we were right. They will always put their profits above the rules, people’s health and the planet. We’re pleased that the Council has set up a new monitoring framework but we’ll also keep an eye on the number of flights and take action if LBA breaks the rules again.
Andy Tait, a GALBA member who lives near the airport said:
It’s disgraceful that Leeds Bradford Airport just ignored rules that its own bosses signed up to. Night flights are strictly limited by a planning condition for a good reason – medical research has repeatedly shown that noise, especially at night, is linked to mental and physical health problems. And, of course, every additional flight means more air pollution and more damage to our climate. 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 that limit. No one is above the law so it’s good news that the Council has taken action to enforce its own rules.
Vincent Hodder, Chief Executive Officer of Leeds Bradford Airport, said:
On behalf of LBA, I sincerely apologise for the airport exceeding the permitted number of night flights in Summer 2022. I want to reassure our local communities that actions have been taken quickly to address the problems that led to this error. These new controls, alongside our continued collaboration with Leeds City Council, will ensure that LBA will operate within the terms of its planning consent. The Summer 2023 schedules have already been adjusted with our airline partners to reflect the conditions and we are working with the Council to ensure that conditions of the planning consent are understood by all parties and adhered to.