Agenda item

Environmental Impact of Aviation

To consider the report of the Head of Democratic Services introducing presentations in relation to the aviation industry and its impact on climate. The first presentation will be delivered by the Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport, and the second, by a group of University of Leeds PhD Researchers.


The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that introduced presentations in relation to the aviation industry and its impact on climate.


The following were in attendance:


·  Hywel Rees, Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport

·  Jefim Vogel, Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds


At the outset of the item, Councillor Wadsworth wished for his appointment to the Leeds Bradford Airport Consultative Committee to be noted.


The Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport addressed the Committee, providing some background to his position at Leeds Bradford Airport and previous roles in the industry. Mr Rees welcomed the opportunity to work with the Council, in order to reduce carbon emissions from aircrafts whilst protecting the internal and wider workforce reliant on the airport.


The Chief Executive left the meeting during the item due to a prior commitment, and suggested that any comments / questions from Members could be submitted to him following the meeting, to which he would write a formal response. The Chair requested that he return to the Committee in due course to discuss some of the matters raised, and Mr Rees agreed.


Members discussed a number of matters, including:


·  Local offsetting. Members requested some examples of schemes available for people to offset their flights locally, and whether the airport have developed plans to coordinate and promote activities to customers. Members also noted that the demands on green space must be considered during development of offsetting schemes.

·  Technological developments. Members requested detail around projects undertaken by the Airport to reduce carbon emissions through updating or replacing their aircraft fleet, and the investment plan to support such projects. Members also queried whether the airport intended to discourage travelling to the airport by car, and if there would be any incentives offered.

·  National targets for air travel reduction. Members commented that if the Leeds Bradford Airport was closed, then it is likely that residents of Leeds would travel to neighbouring airports in Manchester or Doncaster, which they felt would not result in a reduction of carbon emissions. Members therefore noted the importance of clear direction for flight carbon reduction targets from central government. 


Mr Vogel, from the Sustainability Research Institute, addressed the Committee and provided Members with a PowerPoint presentation focused on the impact of carbon emissions from Leeds Bradford Airport on the city’s ability to meet the zero emission target by 2030. The Chair requested that the PowerPoint presentation be circulated to all Committee Members following the meeting.


Members discussed a number of matters, including:


·  Impact of offsetting activities. Members queried the impact of offsetting, and whether offsetting potential had been considered for models and targets presented. Members were advised that offsetting activities were not included in models, and should be used to make small residual changes to net emissions, following all other efforts to reduce carbon output.

·  Translating academic messages. Members noted that the Council must work closely with academic partners to ensure that complex messages around carbon reduction are communicated well to the residents of Leeds, in relatable and accessible format.

·  Economic impact and job security. Members recognised the need to consider the impact of major changes to the aviation industry on people’s livelihoods and the local economy.




a)  That the questions raised during discussions be directed to the Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport following the meeting for written response;

b)  That the Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport be invited to a future meeting of the Committee;

c)  That the contents of the report and presentation, along with Members comments, be noted.


Councillors N Buckley and L Mulherin left the meeting at 4:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. respectively during discussion of this item.



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