Stop Leeds Bradford Airport Expansion - People and Planet over Private Profit!

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The following is an open letter from YouthStrike4Climate Leeds. Sign to have your name added in support of this letter and our demand :) You can also formally object here, following the instructions on GALBA's website.

Leeds City Council must put the health and wellbeing of young people above the profits of Leeds Bradford Airport - and reject its application to expand.

Dear Councillors, 

You told us you were ready to act on our calls for change. We believe you meant this, but now is the time to prove it - Leeds City Council must reject Leeds Bradford Airport’s dangerous expansion plans.

In March 2019, you recognised young people’s fears and demands, and declared a climate emergency. Since then, University of Leeds academics have said that the increase in flights these plans facilitate would ‘make it impossible for the city to meet its carbon reduction target’.

This would be a disaster for young people in Leeds and beyond. We want a safe and just future for us all. This means we must rapidly bring down carbon emissions, protecting people from the climate crisis and its impacts - from devastating floods to unbearable heat, the spread of disease to declining food security. Our house is on fire - we cannot let this expansion add more fuel. 

More flights also mean more noise. With 36 schools under the flight-path, this would further disrupt the education of pupils in Leeds following Covid-19.

The flight-path cuts right across the city, so this will be damaging to some of Leeds’ most disadvantaged communities. The climate crisis is intrinsically an issue of racial and social justice, with disadvantaged communities already suffering its impacts most severely in Leeds and beyond. We mustn't heap injustice upon injustice through this expansion. 

LCC has a duty of care to protect our health and wellbeing. To uphold this, they must Measure what Matters, recognising that the health of people and the planet are worth far more than the profit of polluters and rejecting LBA’s application on this basis.

By investing in the restoration and resilience of our communities and environment, we can make Leeds fairer and greener, bringing hope out of heart-break to Build Back Better following the Covid-19 crisis. Deep and entrenched social injustices, highlighted in recent months, prove that racially minoritised and low-income communities must be front and centre of this recovery. 

The message of 'Build Back Better' has widespread support. Even business leaders, economists, trade unions and academics are all saying that measures to cut emissions are the best option for creating jobs, delivering immediate improvements in health and wellbeing AND allowing us to meet our climate targets. 

A green recovery for Leeds could look like whatever we want and need as a city. Take a look at any of the ideas in this video from Our Future Leeds, this scheme to install solar panels in schools and deliver climate education for young people, these recommendations from the Leeds Climate Change Citizen's Jury, or this explanation of why racial and social justice and internationalist solidarity must be central to our response to the climate crisis, from Sai and Penny at the Racial Justice Network...

But one thing is for sure - a recovery for Leeds cannot look like an expanded Leeds Bradford Airport.

This application is a test for Leeds City Council - are you determined to meet your bold and inspiring commitments on the climate emergency? Or will you pass the buck on emissions, and allow this dangerous expansion to go ahead?

Young people in Leeds and across the world are relying on you. Please don’t let us down.