Southampton Airport runway decision put back to 8th April after rejection by Eastleigh’s Local Area Committee
Plans to extend Southampton Airport’s runway have been rejected by Eastleigh’s Local Area Committee, which voted 5 to 3 against the 164m (538ft) extension – which would allow longer-haul flights (and so increase carbon emissions). The matter will now go to a full council meeting on 8 April where the proposals will finally be decided. Eastleigh planning officers recommended to approve the expansion, despite finding the number of people affected by airport noise would go up from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033. One councillor said: “It’s a matter of balance, it’s balancing the economy, jobs, the future of our planet.” Another said: “By refusing this application we will not be closing the airport. By voting for refusal we are simply stopping the dramatic impact on carbon emissions.” Campaigners – including naturalist Chris Packham – had objected to the expansion since it was officially proposed in 2019 and there have since been four public consultations. Local authorities, including Southampton and Winchester city councils, Test Valley Borough Council, four parish councils, as well as Bournemouth Airport, Southern Gas Networks and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, all objected to the plans on the grounds of noise and climate change.
Southampton Airport runway decision put back after rejection
By Roger Harrabin (BBC)
Plans to extend Southampton Airport’s runway have been rejected by planning chiefs after a two-day meeting.
Eastleigh’s Local Area Committee voted five to three against the 164m (538ft) extension to allow longer-haul flights.
The matter will now go to a full council meeting on 8 April where the proposals will finally be decided.
Airport bosses said it was “vital” for the site’s future but campaigners and some local authorities have raised big objections over noise and pollution.
Responding to the vote, airport operations director Steve Szalay said: “The committee… has gone against the majority of Eastleigh residents who expressed their support during the consultation.
“However, this is far from over. We now welcome the opportunity to present our plans to the full council.”
Naturalist Chris Packham recorded a message urging councillors to reject the bigger runway
Writing on Twitter, action group Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO) said: “Just wow. Thank you so much everyone who made their feelings known and especially those brave councillors who chose to go against the officer recommendation.
“The tide is turning. This is not the end. But it’s worth celebrating now.”
Planning officers recommended to approve the expansion, despite finding the number of people affected by airport noise would go up from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033.
But they also emphasised it would create more than 1,000 jobs and contribute to the local economy.
In the second day of debate, councillors made impassioned speeches about the environment, economy and jobs.
Airport operations director Steve Szalay said he was disappointed by the committee’s rejection.
Councillor Alex Bourne said it was “a huge decision on our shoulders”.
“Whilst the report doesn’t say the airport is going to close, it is easy to read between the lines,” he said.
Councillor Wayne Irish added: “It’s a matter of balance, it’s balancing the economy, jobs, the future of our planet.”
Councillor Paul Bicknell said refusing the runway extension would not save carbon emissions because people would simply travel to other airports and fly from there instead.
He said: “We don’t get a reduction in carbon overall and we put the airport in jeopardy.”
But Councillor Daniel Clarke said: “By refusing this application we will not be closing the airport. By voting for refusal we are simply stopping the dramatic impact on carbon emissions.”
Conservative MP for Eastleigh Paul Holmes said he was “disappointed” by the decision and called on full council to “save our airport and protect people’s livelihoods”.
“Failure to do so will be a slap in the face to the people of Eastleigh who overwhelming supported the runway extension to their local airport,” he said.
Campaigners – including naturalist Chris Packham – had objected to the expansion since it was officially proposed in 2019 and there have since been four public consultations.
Local authorities, including Southampton and Winchester city councils, Test Valley Borough Council, four parish councils, as well as Bournemouth Airport, Southern Gas Networks and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, all objected to the plans on the grounds of noise and climate change.
By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst
Southampton Airport is one of eight across England seeking to expand.
The advisory Climate Change Committee has told ministers that emissions from aircraft must not be allowed to grow overall.
That means if capacity is increased at one airport then it should contract at another – and no-one appears to be volunteering for that.
The committee says an exception could be made if planes become much more fuel-efficient, or start flying on low-carbon fuels from plants or waste – but these will not be available at scale for some time.
The government is yet to decide whether it will follow this advice, although aviation will form part of its transport decarbonisation plan due out after Easter.
Aviation is currently in a privileged position – but ministers are under pressure from environmentalists to force the industry to adopt similar emissions cuts to other sectors of the economy.
Follow Roger on Twitter. @RHarrabin
Southampton Airport expansion recommended for approval by Eastleigh Council – meeting will be 25th March
Plans to lengthen the runway at Southampton Airport have been recommended for approval by council officers. The airport wants to extend the runway by 164m (538ft) to facilitate the use of larger planes for holiday flights. It has said it is “critical to the airport’s survival” and refusal would put more than 2,000 jobs at risk. [That claim, of course, needs to be taken with a big pinch of salt]. Eastleigh Borough Council officers recommended councillors approve the plans at a meeting on 25 March 2021. However, council officers said planning permission would be subject to several conditions, which include restrictions on night-time flying, air quality and noise monitoring, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. The council said the project was “inevitably controversial” and said officers had “carefully considered” the “high numbers of comments received both in favour and against”. Southampton City Council and local campaigners have previously objected on the grounds of climate change and noise. Action group Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO) previously said more than 60,000 people would be exposed to increased noise from flights.
Eastleigh Council may make decision on Southampton runway extension in March
A final decision by Eastleigh Council, on plans to lengthen the runway by 164 metres (538ft) at Southampton Airport, could be made by March. The aim is to be able to accommodate larger planes, such as A320s and Boeing 737s for yet more holiday flights, to yet more destinations. The airport said it expects “to submit additional information regarding its runway extension application to Eastleigh Borough Council later this month. A new public consultation will then follow.” A council decision, after the consultation, could be by mid-March. Opponents are very aware that the extension will negatively impact the area due to increased noise, and there will be increased carbon emissions. At the start of December 2020 Southampton City Council objected to the proposals on the grounds of noise and climate change. The airport had around 1.78 million passengers in 2019 (barely higher than in 2009, though the peak was around 2 million in 2017. It hopes to get 3 million annual passengers by 2033.
Southampton City Council objects to latest plans by Southampton airport – Eastleigh BC to consider on 17th December
Southampton City Council has objected to revised plans to expand the runway at Southampton airport by 164 metres (538 ft), in order to increase the number of flights and size of planes. The council voted to oppose the scheme on the grounds of climate change and noise levels. The city council had previously voted to oppose the airport’s original plans in January. The airport was asked to amend the proposals and Southampton council was asked to confirm its position before a final decision is taken by councillors in Eastleigh – where the airport is located. The latest plans have a few small noise modifications. Lyn Bryshaw, from the Airport Expansion Opposition group told the online council meeting the development would “cause huge harm to the environment and local people …The economic benefits for Southampton and the region have been overstated and no evidence at all has been presented to suggest that the airport would go out of business without the extension.” A decision on planning permission is due to be made on 17 December, by Eastleigh Borough Council.