Hundreds of people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion
ALMOST 2,000 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport.
Campaigners will this week ask city councillors in Southampton not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres claiming it will affect the environment.
Members of Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) will present a petition signed by 1,900 people to councillors at the full council meeting set to be held on Wednesday.
Civic chiefs said they will scrutinise the plans that the airport is set to submit to Eastleigh Borough Council.
Campaigners think the plans clash with the Green City Charter that Southampton’s council launched this year to combat air pollution.
Lyn Brayshaw, a member of AXO, said: ‘Most of the points of the green city charter are contradicted by an increase in flights. We want this to be discussed at full council. If Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency then the airport expansion should not be on the agenda. We can’t have more flights.’
A planning application to expand the airport is expected to be submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council soon.
Cllr Steve Leggett, cabinet member for green city and environment at Southampton City Council, said: ‘When this has been done we will be able to scrutinise this application plus the associated documents, including the environment impact assessment. Then we will make a detailed submission to EBC planning.’
Earlier this week councillor Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said concerns will be looked at very carefully.
It comes after airline Flybe announced it is dropping eight routes from Southampton next summer.
The airport had said this shows the need for a longer runway so a wider range of aircraft can use the site.
Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting a spokesperson for Southampton Airport added: ‘We know that people are going to continue to fly and that the demand is not going away. We strongly believe that enabling passengers to fly locally is the best solution, and our development will take thousands of needless car journeys off the region’s roads. We are just 99 steps from a major railway station and have excellent bus and onward transport links. We will grow sustainably and responsibly, sensitive to the needs of the local community.’
Cllr Dan Fitzhenry, leader of the Conservatives at Southampton City Council, said his group will listen to what campaigners have to say.
By Maria Zaccaro
Local Democracy Reporting Service