Leading climate scientists are calling for the expansion of the Leeds/Bradford airport to be halted.

Over 200 academics who have written to the government as said that expanding the airport would cause significant ecological destruction.

A letter signed by 250 professors, academics and researchers from Leeds University have said that the expansion of the airport would make it much harder for the UK to achieve net-zero climate targets.

“The Leeds Bradford airport expansion represents a firm commitment to worsening climate breakdown now and in the future … If we want to avoid the worsening of the greatest threat humanity has ever faced, we must ramp down fossil-fuelled sectors,” said Prof Julia Steinberger, a lead author with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Approval for the expansion was given last month, where the new plans mean that the airport will have capacity for 7 million a year by 2030 – up from the current 4 million.

The letter, which was addressed to Robert Jenrick, the minister for housing, communities and local government, said: “In the year that the UK is hosting the Cop26 conference, it is vital that we show leadership on climate change and take the necessary actions to secure a safe, zero-carbon future. We, therefore, urge you to call in this application so that the issues highlighted are considered in light of national and international climate targets and associated guidance.”

In response, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, argued: “Connecting the north to the rest of the European continent and beyond is critical to driving the Northern Powerhouse and we need a greater share of flights directly here, both to reduce the number of cars driving down to Heathrow as well as to close the north-south divide.”