Cllr Jackie Whiteley said:
I am now in possession of Bradford Council’s response, as a Statutory Consultee, to Leeds Bradford Airport’s planning application to Leeds City Council.
I am extremely disappointed in the response which raises ‘ No Objections’ and makes no formal request, as I had implored them to do. I asked for the application to be split into improvements to the terminal buildings and a separate application to consider the increase in flying hours. I spoke with the Portfolio holder, Alex Ross-Shaw and officers. I am concerned that extending flying hours will be overshadowed by the economic imperative to improve facilities at the airport.
Bradford residents concerns haven’t been listened to by the Labour controlled Council and Leeds Bradford Airport has not directly consulted about the extension to flying hours which greatly concerns us because 75% of flights come over us - Burley in Wharfedale, Menston, Ilkley and Baildon in particular. This leaves us totally at the mercy of Leeds City Council. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, currently Chaired by our own Leader of the Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, is also keen to see the airport’s expansion. I made it clear that my main concern related to the increase in flying hours especially night flying.
As a District Councillor I am astonished to read that the airport claims to have consulted with me and my colleagues. They have not done so.
For this reason I believe Bradford Council should have taken a tougher stance to protect its own residents. They have declined to do so and have instead relied on officers’ narrowly defined responsibilities which gives us little protection on technical grounds.
The Environmental Health section, whilst restating my concerns, notes it has no jurisdiction over noise pollution and quotes the CAA which says all complaints should be directed to the Airport. This has proven fruitless in recent years as the airport disputes that noise levels are excessive. As someone who lives under the current flight path I can testify that I am woken up every morning by the first flight after 6am. Mothers write to tell me that their babies are awoken by night flights and I receive many many complaints each year and especially in the summer when windows are open.
The flight path is the real culprit. The Airport’s assertion that their planning permission allows them to fly permanently within a swathe either side of the true line allows aircraft to fly over Menston and Burley in Wharfedale. The CAA on their website describes the swathe as airspace which can be used when conditions such as wind direction and weather conditions dictate. This needs closer consideration as flying over fields between the villages would remove many of our concerns. I hope this application provides the opportunity to do so.
District Councillor (Con) Wharfedale Ward
Bradford District Council
Shadow Spokesperson for Planning and Highways
THIS LETTER HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO LOCAL PAPERS.