Picnic protest over airport plan

25 April 2009
Sixty climate campaigners have held a picnic in the check-in hall at Leeds Bradford Airport in a protest over its planned expansion.
The airport wants to build a £28m two-storey extension to the terminal building which would house an improved check-in area and departure lounge.

Campaigners say the plan will cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The airport has said it planned to "improve and refine" its method of monitoring air quality.

Protesters ate cucumber sandwiches and gingerbread aeroplanes.

One of the campaigners, Leeds University student Guy Mitchell, said the picnic was a "very civil way to protest".

'Important asset'

He said it was a "great chance" for people with concerns about climate change and airport expansion to express them in "a fun, family-friendly way".

"Aviation is the single fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emission in the UK," he said.

"If Leeds Bradford Airport expands it will destroy any chance of Leeds reducing its impact on the climate."

The expansion is part of a wider £70m, five-year investment package for the airport.

The airport said it was notified of environmental concerns during a public consultation on the plans.

It said: "The airport intends to improve air quality where possible. We expect to improve and refine our method of monitoring air quality in line with EU requirements and industry standards.

"Clearly there are concerns about the environment and the location of the airport within the green belt.

"There are also a few respondents who consider the airport should be either restricted in its growth or not develop at all.

"However, the vast majority of respondents consider that the airport is an increasingly important asset for the city region and that the airport should be developed in line with the draft masterplan."