Public consultation over Southampton runway extension slightly delayed – and campaigners fight for Marlhill Copse trees

The public consultation through Eastleigh Borough Council over plans to extend Southampton Airport’s runway by 164 metres has been delayed. It was due to start on July 10th, but now the start date is not known – the delay may only be a week or so. The consultation is due to last 30 days. The airport also wants to add 600 more parking spaces to the existing long stay car park. There is a lot of local opposition to the plans, largely due to the noise impact and the extra carbon emissions of more flights. Neighbouring local authorities including Winchester and Southampton councils objected to the scheme.  There has already been one consultation, in late 2019, and the airport may make modifications in this second consultation. The final decision will be by Eastleigh Borough Council. The airport bought a small woodland near the airport, Marlhill Copse in 2018. It now wants to fell many of the trees, citing safety concerns. The trees in fact would only be a potential safety concern if the airport is allowed to expand. Three trees have already been felled, on the pretext of “good forestry management”.  Campaigners are trying to get this tree felling and tree height reduction stopped.



Public consultation over Southampton Airport runway extension is pushed back

9th July 2020

By Maria Zaccaro @MariaDailyEcho, Local Democracy Reporter (Daily Echo)

A PUBLIC consultation over plans to expand Southampton Airport has been pushed back.

As previously reported, airport bosses were planning to formally launch a consultation on plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport by 164 metres on July 10.

Residents will be able to have their say by leaving a comment on the new plans once they will be published on Eastleigh Borough Council website.

But a spokesperson for Southampton Airport has now said: “The administrative processing of all of the new material onto the council planning portal is taking slightly longer than anticipated, and this now means that the public consultation on the planning application will go live next week.”

A date is yet to be set.

As reported, residents will have 30 days to have their say on the proposals which also include plans to add an extra 600 parking spaces to the existing long stay car park.

The one set to start next week, will be the second public consultation on the airport expansion.

The news comes as the initial plans were met with criticism as some residents raised concerns over the impact the expansion would have on the environment and pollution.

Neighbouring local authorities including Winchester and Southampton councils objected to the scheme.

But Southampton Airport had previously said that following a high level of feedback received during the first public consultation last autumn, airport bosses made “some significant updates and improvements” in many key areas.

Airport bosses stressed that extending the runway is “absolutely vital” to the future of the airport.

Residents have been asked to have their say on the new plans.

A final decision is expected to be made by Eastleigh Borough Council.


The airport wants to fell trees in Marlhill Copse

Lots of information about the issue at

Airport Expansion and Marlhill Copse:

The tall trees at Marlhill Copse literally obstruct airport expansion

  1. The airport admits that tree height management is the reason it bought Marlhill Copse in 2018.
  2. The trees identified for felling in the ‘Aerodrome Safeguarding’ plan of 2019 do not pose a risk to current flights but do penetrate the ‘Object Limitation Surface’ for the airport’s expansion plans.
  3. Instead of ‘Aerodrome Safeguarding’, the airport are now using ‘Health & Safety’ and ‘Good Forestry Practice’ to justify tree felling.
  4. The recent ‘Health & Safety’ felling application has resulted in the loss of 3 of the highest trees at Marlhill and the rest of the tall trees will either be felled or severely reduced in height as part of a Woodland Management Plan.
  5. We accept the risk of falling branches and trees in other parts of the city and we can accept this at Marlhill Copse, it is a natural process.
  6. Airport expansion will severely impact the health & safety of local residents, not least from the 80+dB noise and loss of roof tiles when A320 jets take off over neighbouring houses.
  7. Southampton is lacking mature trees (, yet tree maturity is being used as a justification to fell.
  8. The negative description of ‘non-indigenous’ and ‘non-native’ species (and justification for felling) ignores the fact that it was an ornamental carriage drive planted with exotic species most of which are not invasive.
  9. The ‘Special Character’ of Marlhill Copse is subjective and should not be for the airport to define. The defining character of Marlhill Copse (even if given to the community in 5 years) will be that it includes no tall trees.
  10. Don’t be fooled – this is all about airport expansion; it is not about ‘Health & Safety’ or ‘Good Forestry Practice.’

The Woodland Management Plan (WMP) will need to be approved by Southampton City Council before airport expansion can happen but Councillors will treat the two matters (woodland management and airport expansion) as unrelated issues.

…. and there is more

on how to object etc



There is a petition to Southampton City Council:

Southampton airport wants to fell and reduce the height of trees at Marlhill Copse in order to allow shallower take off to the south. This will cause increased noise and nuisance to the whole of Southampton.

In 2019 there was a High Court injunction protecting Marlhill Copse from any tree-works, but solicitors from both the airport and city council managed to overturn this on 2 July. The airport were due to submit a planning application to demolish around 20 large pines and hope it could be approved by a single Council officer with the minimum of formal public consultation. The planning panel has effectively agreed to a total of 219 trees having their height reduced – 93 trees by more than 10 metres.

Marlhill Copse is a conservation area with Tree Preservation Orders. It is vital that any request for felling or crown-reduction is subject to the utmost scrutiny and that decision-making is absolutely transparent. There should be the fullest public consultation as it would be absurd to demolish the very carbon-capturing organisms that a Green City should be cherishing . The fate of Marlhill Copse is too important to be delegated to an officer or the planning panel.

Marlhill Copse is a whole-city issue. It needs a whole-city response.

If you can pledge to a fighting fund please email:

For updates please visit:



Marlhill Copse:

The campaigners’ Facebook page says:

The airport is determined to cut these trees down without allowing an independent verification of its results. What have they got to hide? Worryingly it has recruited 90 supporters who do not seem to understand what a rigorous scientific approach is. If you want the truth about the airport’s reasons for cutting down these trees you should object to this application and ask for an independent review. Please share widely and quickly – the decision will be taken by the City Council next Tuesday 23rd July 2020.

If the link doesn’t work email your objection to