Southampton Airport runway extension plans approved by Eastleigh Council
Eastleigh Borough Council has voted (finally at 2.15am!) to agree to allow Southampton Airport to extend its runway by 164 metres. This will lead to larger planes using the airport, and thus flights to more distant destinations, more passengers and higher carbon emissions. 22 councillors voted in favour of the proposals; 13 councillors voted against the plans and 1 abstained.This followed 19 hours of debate. Opponents have fought against the plans not only due to the carbon emissions, but also the extra noise for surrounding areas, and air pollution. The standard justification for these expansions are local economic benefit, and more jobs – even though the net impact is to encourage more local people to fly abroad on holiday, spending their holiday money there. It is likely that the number of people affected by noise would go from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033, if the expansion happens. Officers hoped that increased home noise insulation would help, but that has no impact if windows are open, or when outdoors. There are claims of “1,000 new jobs” – based on experience at other airports, that is very unlikely indeed. The CCC advice is that there should be no net airport expansion; so if one expands, another should contract. Likely?
Southampton Airport runway plans approved after three days of debate
By Maria Zaccaro @MariaDailyEcho (Southampton Daily Echo)
AFTER 19 hours of deliberations plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport have been given the green light.
Twenty-two councillors voted in favour of the proposals to expand the runway by 164m.
Thirteen councillors voted against the plans and one abstained.
It comes as all councillors at Eastleigh Borough Council spent 19 hours debating the proposals and listening to both sides of the argument.
Over the past two days hundreds of people watched the online debate over the plans that have literally divided public opinion.
On the one hand, campaigners and some residents called for the plans to be refused on the grounds of climate change, noise and pollution.
The longer runway will mean bigger, noisier planes approaching the airport from the north over villages such as Colden Common and Twyford.
On the other hand, residents and the local business community asked for the plans to be approved saying the move would boost the local economy and create new jobs.
Several residents and councillors raised concerns over the impact the runway extension would have on noise and climate change.
It comes as it was previously revealed that the number of people affected by noise would go from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033, if the expansion went ahead.
But officers said the mitigation measures proposed – including insulation and a cap on vehicles to restrict passengers to 3m per annum (the airport had 1.78 million passengers in 2019) – would result in a “moderate adverse impact”.
In the 19-hour long debate councillors were also told that the expansion would create more than 1,000 jobs, boost the local economy and result in a £15m investment.
More than 200 people had registered to speak at the meeting and made their point perfectly clear.
Tonight several councillors acknowledged they were faced with a difficult decision.
Cllr Margaret Atkinson, leader of the Conservative Group, said: “The decision the council takes on this application is probably the most important it ever takes as it will shape the future of the borough and of its residents for generations to come.”
Cllr Wayne Irish added: “This has been probably the most difficult planning application for me in all my 39 years as a councillor on this council.”
A number of councillors said they couldn’t support the plans and raised concerns over the impact of the runway expansion on climate change and noise.
Cllr Louise Parker-Jones said: “I am not reassured there are the right mitigation processes in place. I really fear for Eastleigh, I really fear why this has been pushed through so so quickly. There is no planet B.”
Cllr Tina Campbell added: “We are in a climate emergency. We can support people get another job. There isn’t another planet. We have to prioritise climate emergency.”
Southampton Airport bosses said they would have to face difficult decisions if the plans were going to be rejected.
Steve Szalay, operations director at the airport, said: “It’s a very divisive issue. This is our plan to adapt, to make sure we become a viable business again. We cannot sustain loss of £8m a year. There’s no maths that suggest the airport will be ok.
“There’s nobody here denying a climate emergency. With a sound economy we can find a technological solution which would decarbonise the country. Back the airport, back the development of green technology. You tonight hold the keys to thousands of jobs.
“A vote for the runway extension secures our future, it secures current jobs, it creates more jobs.”
During the debate councillors were also told that the airport is a lifeline for residents in the Channel Islands.
Talking at the end of the debate, Cllr Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, asked councillors to approve the proposals.
It was just past 2.15am today (Saturday April 10) when 22 councillors voted in favour of the plans, 13 against and one abstained.
Climate campaigners call for halt to regional UK airports expansion, to avoid aviation CO2 growth
The Aviation Environment Federation says the UK government must intervene to stop the planned expansion of a number of small airports around the country if it is to meet legally binding environmental targets and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Seven regional airports have devised plans to expand their operations, despite fierce opposition from climate scientists and local people, who argue the proposals are incompatible with UK efforts to address the climate and ecological crisis. The decision on whether to allow a new terminal at Leeds Bradford has been delayed. The AEF says the government must go further and intervene to halt the other schemes which, taken together, would release huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The expansions are against the recommendations fo the government’s climate advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, who say there should be no net airport expansion. ie. if one expands, another has to contract (there are no volunteers). The time is well overdue for government take a proper strategic overview of the climate impact of airport expansion proposals rather than leave it up to individual local authorities. There needs to be proper policy for aviation carbon, which is sadly lacking.
UK government criticised by prominent scientists and lawyers, for ignoring Paris climate goals in infrastructure decisions
Prominent scientists and lawyers (including Jim Hansen, Sir David King and Prof Jeffrey Sachs) have written to the Supreme Court and ministers, to say the UK government’s decision to ignore the Paris climate agreement when deciding on major infrastructure projects undermines its presidency of UN climate talks this year. The Heathrow case is a key example, when a 3rd runway was approved in principle by government (2019) and the Supreme Court finally ruled in December 2020 that the government had not needed to take the Paris climate goals into account. The UK is due to host the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November, regarded as one of the last chances to put the world on track to meet the Paris goals. It is dangerous for the highest court in the land to set a bad precedent. The letter, signed by over 130 scientists, legal and environmental experts, says that the Supreme Court “set a precedent that major national projects can proceed even where they are inconsistent with maintaining the temperature limit on which our collective survival depends.” And “Indeed, the precedent goes further still. It says that the government is not bound even to consider the goals of an agreement that is near universally agreed.”
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 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.