Southampton Airport expansion plans go to second consultation – no date yet set

The airport plans to extend the runway by 164m to allow for larger 190-seater aircraft, and more flights.  It wants to double the number of passengers.  Its plans will go to a second public consultation, by Eastleigh council,  before a decision is made. Environmental campaigners and two neighbouring councils, Southampton and Winchester, have raised concerns over noise and air pollution. The airport makes the usual statements about lots of new jobs, and local economic boost (in reality, more of the passengers will be people in the area taking holidays abroad, taking their leisure money out of the UK). Local group, AXO, Airport Expansion Opposition, has been leading opposition to the plans.  A final decision is expected to be made by Eastleigh Borough Council, but everything is held up by the Covid pandemic, and no date has been set.  The council said: “We are awaiting amended information in support of the application.  Once we have received this, we will undertake a full re-consultation on the proposed runway extension.”



Southampton Airport plans go to second consultation

3rd June 2020

The airport plans to extend the runway by 164m to allow for larger 190-seater aircraft.

Plans to expand an airport will go to a second public consultation before a decision is made.

Southampton Airport bosses want to extend the runway and increase the number of flights, allowing it to more than double passenger numbers.

But environmental campaigners and two neighbouring councils have raised concerns over noise and air pollution.

An airport spokesperson said it had “made improvements in a whole range of areas” since the first consultation.

The proposals would see the runway extended by 164m (538ft) to allow for larger 190-seater aircraft.

The airport said its plans would create 400 new jobs and boost its economic benefit to the region from £160m a year up to £400m by 2037.

Airport Expansion Opposition action group held a demonstration against the expansion plans.Southampton City Council and Winchester City Council have objected.

Southampton raised concerns as flight paths run over the city, while Winchester cited fears over noise and carbon emissions.

A final decision is expected to be made by Eastleigh Borough Council, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The airport spokesperson said: “It’s a highly technical planning application and there has been a pandemic which means everybody has to be super flexible in how they are approaching this.

“The airport is vital to the recovery of our local economy and extending the runway is an essential part of that.”  [In practice, most people using the airport are going on foreign holidays, contributing to the “tourism deficit” which reached £30 billion in 2019] .

The airport said it was hoping for a decision by July, but Eastleigh council said no date has been set.

The council added: “We are awaiting amended information in support of the application.

“Once we have received this, we will undertake a full re-consultation on the proposed runway extension.”


See earlier:

Southampton, Exeter, Newquay and Belfast City are the main regional airports likely to have their demand cut by loss of Flybe

The collapse of Flybe, which lost money year after year even when given repeated cash injections, puts the jobs of around 2,000 staff at risk. Almost 1,000 staff are based at Flybe’s Exeter headquarters.  Other jobs in the supply chain, in several regions, will also be at risk.  It will have considerable impacts on many regional airports, for which Flybe was one of the main airlines. About 95% of the flights using Southampton airport were Flybe. (Southampton is planning to get its runway, currently 1,723 metres in length, extended by 170 metres, to get in more larger planes and more traffic).  The airline industry – and still the UK government  – are keen to insist we need “regional connectivity” by air.  In reality, in a carbon-constrained world, many journeys that do not involve crossing sea, can be done by rail, coach or even by road, with much lower carbon emissions. Other airports that will be seriously affected by the loss of Flybe are Exeter and Newquay, where Flybe operated the majority of flights.  Belfast  City Airport had about 80% of its flights by Flybe.  Blue Islands, the Flybe franchise partner operates flights linking the Channel Islands with Bristol, London City and Southampton, said it was continuing its flights.


Winchester City council makes U-turn over Southampton Airport expansion plans

By Sophie Day (Hampshire Chronicle)

1st Feb 2020

CITY council chiefs have made a U-turn on proposals to expand Southampton Airport.

Members of Winchester City Council’s cabinet aired concerns for a bid to extend the runway by 164 metres and increase the number of flights by 18,000 per year.

Councillors were told in 2018 the authority wrote “broadly welcoming” the proposals, but since the change of leadership there has been a change in stance.

Cllr Jackie Porter said: “We are raising an objection to the expansion of Southampton Airport based on following material considerations. One that the expansion of a number of flights from 39,800 to 57,800 would have a material adverse impact because of the likely increase level of noise which are inadequately mitigated.”

“The expansion significantly increases the carbon emissions which wouldn’t be mitigated by the development to the detriment to the climate and our climate emergency and our whole strategy at this council,” she continued.

“The minimal positive effect on the economic prosperity is far outweighed by the negative impact of the noise and the carbon.”

Friends of the Earth, the Green Party and Extinction Rebellion have banded together to fight the plans. Calling themselves Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) they accept the need for a small regional airport, however, because of the climate crisis believes people must fly less.

Cllr Porter said: “We want to make it clear that we are not supporting the expansion which would allow larger aeroplanes to use the airport.

“Longer term some smaller aeroplanes may eventually use low carbon electricity but it is unlikely that larger planes will do so, certainly not before 2030, and most of the flights which are currently there could be accommodated by rail travel and we hope our government in declaring their climate change emergency is thinking along these lines also. However, the recent statements about Flybe probably mean that this is unlikely.”

Southampton Airport had previously said there is a need for a longer runway and vowed to grow “sustainably and responsibly, sensitive to the needs of the local community”.

The airport expansion is expected to create 400 new jobs and boost financial investment from £160m a year to £275m.


Local campaigners, AXO, encourage local residents to respond to the Southampton airport expansion consultation

There is a planning application consultation by Southampton Airport, that closes on 23rd December. The airport has published plans for a 164-metre runway extension.  The planning application, lodged with Eastleigh Borough Council, is the first phase of its growth set out in its “masterplan” which it charmingly calls (oxymoron) “A Vision For Sustainable Growth.”  The application is likely to be considered by the council on 21st January 2020.  Local opposition group, AXO (Airport Expansion Opposition) Southampton is urging people to read the application, and submit their comments. There are serious concerns about road congestion, and increases in air pollution – as well as the inevitable increase in noise. The longer runway would mean larger aircraft could use it. AXO warns that the application should not be decided before the CAA’s Airspace Change consultation process is completed, as this may change significantly the impact on residents under or near the flight path. It also should not be decided until the government has finalised its Aviation Strategy, for all UK aviation, expected in early-mid 2020, when it has taken into account the new legal situation for aviation carbon emissions, with a net-zero target for 2050.


Almost 2,000 people sign petition against Southampton Airport expansion plans

About 1,900 people have signed a petition opposing the expansion of Southampton Airport. The local opposition campaign, Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO), will be asking Southampton Councillors not to back plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres.  AXO members will present the petition to councillors at a full council meeting. The plans to extend the runway and increase the number of flights will increase carbon emissions, and are contrary to the council’s plans to cut CO2 locally.  The airport will submit its expansion planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council. AXO said that if Southampton is serious about declaring a climate emergency, the airport expansion should not be permitted. Airports and their backers try to use the argument that it is better for people to fly (as they assume people will continue to do, in growing numbers….) from a local airport, citing the carbon emissions of their trip to/from another larger airport. Those emissions are generally small compared to those of the flight itself. And the aim of having a local airport is to get people to fly more, as it is more convenient.  Net effect – more flights, more carbon. And more noise and local impacts around the airport.

Click here to view full story…

Local opposition growing to expansion plans by Southampton airport

A group within Southampton Friends of the Earth has set up a campaign to oppose Southampton Airport expansion. Despite the Government’s recent commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, there are many airport expansion applications across the UK. This expansion cannot enable the aviation sector to meet even its current, easy, carbon target – let alone the much more stringent one required for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. The airport will probably submit its planning application to extend the runway by 170 metres to Eastleigh Borough Council in the next few weeks. The scoping report and Master Plan have received approval in principle from Southampton City Council. Twyford Parish Council has objected, due to a proposed increase of flights over the village. Eastleigh Greens are likely to be objecting as well.  Friends of the Earth Southampton are currently putting together a petition to Southampton City Council to ask them to re-think their support for airport expansion, given that the Government is asking for net zero carbon by 2050. Campaigners started a group here to oppose the proposed expansion but it has not got a name yet. People interested can get in touch via the local FoE group

Click here to view full story…