Air Mail

Apparently the people of Leeds were well aware of the many good reasons to prevent the expansion of Leeds-Bradford airport:

Controversial Leeds-Bradford airport plan stays grounded

Controversial plans for a £28m extension to Leeds-Bradford International Airport terminal have been scuppered for the time being.

Councillors last night delayed a decision on the scheme amid concerns about the impact it could have on roads in the area after getting more than 900 letters of objection. (emphasis added)

And even more, if the Yorkshire Post are to be believed:

The council received well over 1,000 letters of protest to the proposals.

Which, by any standard, is a lot of letters!

Congratulations to Leeds Friends of the Earth, Stop LBA Exspanion, and all others involved for obtaining this much needed breathing space.

However,  it’s at this point that Tiberius must risk being made unpopular with the city’s environmental activists, with this open letter to the YEP:

LBA Expansion: Time for Lobbyists To ‘Take off’

Much has been written about the proposed LBA expansion, yet many commentators neglect the most crucial consideration: what is it that the people of Leeds actually want?

Whilst many will agree that the environmental lobby is more representative and accountable than its corporate counterpart, ultimately our council does not exist to cater to special interests of any kind; it is there to implement the collective will of the people of Leeds – eco-friendly or otherwise.

As all would-be policy-influencers are keen to remind us, every letter written to a politician represents the views of a significant number of constituents. Since Leeds City Council is in receipt of 900 such letters relating to the expansion proposals, it must now recognise that a significant proportion of Leeds’ population is concerned about this issue. Should any doubt remain, our representatives at the council might wish to experiment with a seemingly unfashionable concept: democracy.

LCC could publish a consultation document, allowing both sides to clearly present their case, and give Loiners the chance to deliver their verdict via a local referendum (which could easily be implemented during a council election). Special consideration could also be given to those people in the areas most affected – Yeadon, Rawdon, etc.

If this idea seems like pie in the sky, it is only because we have for too long allowed ourselves to be removed from any meaningful participation in the decisions our city makes. It’s high-time that the future of Leeds was decided upon by the people of Leeds, not by Bridgepoint Capital, the Yorkshire Tourist Board, or even Friends of the Earth.

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