Call to strip John Lennon Airport of council funding over “incompatible” environmental plan

An airport spokesman said it ‘naturally recognises its wider environmental responsibilities’ and has its own plans to reach net carbon zero by 2040.

A demand has been made for Liverpool Council to strip funding from Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) over environmental concerns.

Green Cllr Anna Key says the council’s financial support of the airport is “incompatible” with the plan for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.

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The call for action comes days after the airport announced plans to build a 5,000 panel solar farm to generate up to a quarter of is electricity.

The motion to remove funding also makes reference to JLA’s Airport Master Plan to expand the business by 2050.

What are the claims against JLA?

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has recently opened up a new route to Europe.

Cllr Key’s motion states that the airport expansion plan would result in a number of “consequences” for the region, including:

  • A larger footprint for airport buildings and related infrastructure.
  • An enlarged car park and a potential runway extension.
  • Increased number of flights.
  • Reduced green space, including the removal of the Green Belt status of land adjacent to the airport.
  • A major new road to carry freight and passenger traffic.

The St Michaels ward member’s motion calls on councillors to note that the authority has developed policies addressing the “negative impact on climate change on the city” since declaring a climate emergency in 2019.

She adds the council should oppose developments that “make climate change worse and reduce biodiversity and wildlife habitats”.

The proposals states that the Liverpool Net Zero Carbon 2030 plan includes the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“An enlarged airport with associated road building and removal of Green Belt status from a substantial amount of adjacent land is incompatible with these aims and should be opposed,” it adds.

What happens next?

The motion put forward by Cllr Key will be debated on Wednesday, 26 January.

Council members will be asked to consider backing a plan to ask Mayor Joanne Anderson and her cabinet to cease the authority’s financial support for JLA.

It will also call for the authority to write to representatives at the airport setting out “the council’s opposition to its Masterplan which sets out the proposals for potential future expansion.”

The Green member also requests the local planning authority undertakes an urgent evidence based review of all policies relating to green space and the environment in order to ensure sufficient policy protections for Greenbelt land are in place,

What do airport officials say?

An LJLA spokesman previously said that although the timescale for their expansion plans were likely to slip as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they remain ‘valid’.

The spokesperson added that JLA says it ‘naturally recognises its wider environmental responsibilities’ and says it has its own plans to reach net carbon zero by 2040.

This includes the potential for on site renewable energy generation through the installation of a solar farm to decarbonise the airport’s energy usage.

The spokesperson added: “The Airport is also a signatory to ‘Sustainable Aviation’, working with airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers and others in the aviation industry with a roadmap for the wider aviation industry to be carbon neutral by 2050.”