THE public will have their say on proposals to improve transport connectivity to Leeds Bradford Airport, including plans for a new railway station nearby.

Senior councillors on Leeds City Council’s executive board have agreed a recommendation to carry out public consultation and engagement on proposals to improve road and rail access to the airport to support its future growth, as well as job creation in the area and addressing current congestion issues in north west Leeds.

Leeds Bradford Airport is one of the fastest-growing airports in the UK, with passenger numbers predicted by the Department for Transport to rise from four million in 2017 to 7.1million by 2030 and more than nine million by 2050.

To support this expected growth at the airport and to support job creation in the wider north west Leeds, the council working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds Bradford Airport and key stakeholders has put forward the following key investment proposals:

- A new airport parkway rail station, located on the existing Leeds-Harrogate Line, with a short connecting spur road to the airport to provide a shuttle bus connection similar to that at Luton Airport. This would also serve as a park and ride service for destinations on the Leeds-Harrogate Line and beyond

- Improving road access through one of three options, building a new LBA Link Route a) From the A65 running along the eastern side of the airport before joining the A658; b) From the A65 running to the south west of the airport before joining the A658; or c) Upgrading existing junctions on the A65 and A658 in Rawdon and Yeadon along with localised road widening

- Releasing 36 hectares of land next to the airport for employment growth and job creation in north west Leeds

The three LBA Link Route road proposals, which were shortlisted following an analysis of a range of possible options, were first announced at the end of 2015. An initial public consultation on them resulted in feedback which focused on calls for improved rail access to the airport rather than road improvements.

Leeds City Council said improving rail access to the airport has long been an ambition, but the location of Leeds Bradford Airport and its topography meant any direct rail connection would be very difficult to achieve and would be prohibitively expensive.

The potential for a parkway station nearby to serve the airport by rail and both Leeds and Harrogate has now come about as part of the Connecting Leeds transport strategy, with the city receiving funding of £173.5m from the government to invest in transport network improvements.

Offering rail connectivity to the airport does not, however, remove the need for better road access, the council added.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, councillor Richard Lewis, said: “The latest figures from regional airports including Manchester show that 84 per cent of passengers travel to the airport by car or taxi despite there being direct rail links. Therefore, as Leeds Bradford Airport continues to grow, it is vital that we look at ways to alleviate increased traffic on the road network in north west Leeds as well as plans for a rail connection.”

All of the key details on the proposals to be considered together will be available in the consultation, to take place early in 2019.