A public inquiry is to be held into the decision to allow the building of a new £150m terminal building at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA).
The airport’s planning application was approved by Leeds City Council in March last year, despite objections by campaigners and local MPs.
The then Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick postponed making a decision on calls for a public inquiry.
However, his successor Michael Gove has now “called in” the plans.
The project would see existing buildings demolished to make way for the new 366,000 sq ft (34,000 sq m) three-storey terminal.
The airport claimed the replacement building would be a more efficient and sustainable development, helping it to achieve its carbon net-zero goals by 2023.
According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a letter from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities stated that matters which Mr Gove “particularly wishes to be informed about” included “the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with government policies for protecting green belt land”.
The letter also listed “the extent to which the proposed development is consistent with government policies for meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change” and the extent to which the plans for the airport were “consistent with the development plan for the area”.
Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport, said he was “disappointed” at the government’s decision to hold a public inquiry.
However, he said he remained “convinced in the economic, environmental and customer service cases for our replacement terminal”.
“The plans not only comply with national and regional legislation, but also present a faster way for us to meet our net-zero strategy and a welcome boost for the UK tourism industry to bounce back from the pandemic,” Mr Hodder said.
The decision to call in the plans to redevelop the terminal building at Leeds Bradford Airport and hold a public inquiry was welcomed by the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA).
Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “It means all the consequences of LBA expansion will be properly considered by experienced planning experts.”
Mr Foren highlighted the fact that the inquiry would scrutinise how consistent the proposed redevelopment was with government policy over climate change.
“Airport expansion is obviously inconsistent with tackling the climate crisis,” he said.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said the details of the public inquiry would “be made shortly”.