Appeal by Southampton campaigners, against runway extension, refused by Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal has refused an appeal by a local campaign group, GOESA Ltd (Group opposed to expansion of Southampton Airport), upholding the decision by Eastleigh Borough Council that the Southampton Airport runway can be lengthened by 164 metres. An associated blast screen and an expansion of the current long-stay car park are also part of the approved scheme. It is now over 18 months after the runway extension was first approved by the council. In August 2021, campaigners from the Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton group challenged the planning permission in court over concerns that the proposal would increase noise, traffic, pollution and carbon emissions. The High Court rejected the claim. In December 2021, the application was renewed and the campaigners were granted a judicial review. The campaigners argued that the decision to extend the runway was “unlawful” as it was rushed, and skipped essential assessments and formalities. In May 2022 the High Court rejected the JR and ruled that the approval had not been unlawful. Campaigners appealed against this decision. That has now been rejected. There are no further legal options. It is totally at variance with the rapid action needed in the next few years, to cut the UK’s carbon emissions.
Southampton Airport expansion ruled legal
02 AUGUST 2022
BY TIYA THOMAS-ALEXANDER (Construction News)
An extension to the runway at Southampton Airport is set to go ahead, after an appeal against it failed in court.
This week, the Court of Appeal refused an appeal by a local campaign group, upholding the decision by Eastleigh Borough Council that the runway can be lengthened by 164 metres.
An associated blast screen and an expansion of the current long-stay car park are also part of the approved scheme.
The decision comes more than 18 months after the expansion of the runway was first approved by the council.
Since the scheme was given the go-ahead, it has faced legal challenge and opposition.
In August 2021, campaigners from the Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton group challenged the planning permission in court over concerns that the proposal would increase noise, traffic and pollution. The High Court rejected the claim.
In December 2021, the application was renewed and the campaigners were granted a judicial review. The group via its firm GOESA Ltd (Group opposed to expansion of Southampton Airport) argued that the decision to extend the runway was “unlawful” on the basis that it was rushed, and skipped essential assessments and formalities.
In May this year, the High Court rejected the judicial review and ruled that the approval had not been unlawful.
A spokesperson for Southampton Airport said the latest decision meant there could be “no further challenge” to the legality of the plans.
They described the scheme as being essential to the long-term viability of the airport and said work towards delivering it would begin.
“We would like to thank all those who have supported our runway plans over the last few years, particularly the residents and businesses who registered their support during the planning process. We appreciate, however, that some of our neighbours have concerns regarding noise and the environment. As an airport, we want to work with the community to manage and mitigate these concerns going forward,” the spokesperson said.
GOESA Ltd spokesperson John Lauwerys said the decision was the end of the legal challenge routes that could be pursued against the expansion.
He added: “A proposed increase of 50 per cent to some three million in the number of passengers flying from Southampton by 2034 is impossible to reconcile with the urgent need to tackle the climate-change crisis.”
Southampton Airport cleared for expansion after appeal thrown out
02 AUG, 2022
BY ROB HORGAN (New Civil Engineer)
Construction of Southampton Airport’s runway extension can now begin after The Court of Appeal upheld Eastleigh Borough Council’s decision to approve the plans.
It marks the end of the legal battle, with The Court of Appeal the final route available to campaigners trying to stop the expansion.
The scheme was approved in April 2021 but campaigners from GOESA (Group Opposing the Expansion of Southampton Airport) claimed permission was “unlawfully granted”.
Their pleas for a judicial review were thrown out by a High Court judge in May and now the Court of Appeal has also ruled that there is no grounds to review the decision.
The scheme involves a 164m runway extension, an associated blast screen and the reconfiguration and enlargement of the existing long stay car park to add 600 spaces. The Airport claims it is “absolutely critical to [its] viability as a regional airport” as the current length is not suitable for modern airline fleets.
A Southampton Airport spokesperson said: “As a result, there can be no further challenge to the legality of the borough council’s decision on our runway extension – and Southampton Airport can begin to plan for the delivery of the scheme.”
A GOESA spokesperson added: “It is a deeply disappointing outcome for the thousands of people who will be adversely affected by the increase in noise and disturbance from the larger noisier planes that Southampton Airport hopes to attract through its expansion plans.”
The airport previously said its existing runway was “one of the shortest in the UK” and inhibited the use of larger planes, such as Airbus 320 and Boeing 737.
GOESA argued that the decision to approve the runway extension was unlawful on five grounds:
- The decision was unlawfully made in breach of a legitimate expectation not to issue the planning permission until the secretary of state had fully had time to decide whether or not to call in the application and cause a public local inquiry to be held
- By making no assessment of the cumulative effects of GHG emissions in combination with other projects, the defendant breached its duty under the EIA Regulations, and/or failed to take into account an obviously material consideration
- The defendant misinterpreted the policy at paragraph 11(d) National Planning Policy Framework, leading it unlawfully to apply the “tilted balance” in favour of the grant of permission, but without it making the necessary prior finding that the “most important policies for determining the application” were out of date
- The defendant unlawfully took into account an immaterial consideration, namely that refusing planning permission would lead to the loss of the airport
- The defendant proceeded upon an insufficient evidential basis before concluding that the airport would be operating below its break-even point without expansion.
Mr Justice Holgate has refused permission for JR of Southampton airport expansion
Southampton Airport won planning permission to extend its runway in April. Now a High Court judge, Mr Justice Holgate, has dismissed campaigners’ claims that the planned extension of Southampton Airport’s runway would be unlawful. GOESA Ltd (Group Opposed to the Expansion of Southampton Airport) was set up after Eastleigh Borough Council gave permission to extend the runway by 164m (538ft) in April 2021. It said the council was wrong to approve it and in justifying it. But now Mr Justice Holgate declined the group’s claim for a judicial review. If the runway is extended, the airport will be able to handle larger planes, carrying more passengers – the type of planes used by EasyJet or Ryanair to take people on sunshine holidays to Mediterranean beaches and European short breaks. If GOESA does not appeal, then the runway construction can begin. The airport would likely start that next winter, to be ready for the 2023 season.
Judge Holgate’s decision on legality of Southampton Airport runway extension approval expected soon
A High Court ruling, by Justice Holgate, on whether the decision by Eastleigh Borough Council to grant planning permission for the 163 metre extension of the runway at Southampton Airport was unlawful is expected in the coming days. In April 2021, Eastleigh Borough Council voted to approve planning permission for the scheme. Then this was followed in July 2021 by a judicial review (JR) claim filed by GOESA Ltd – the local opposition group. They say the decision should have been called in, for decision by the Secretary of State, and that Southampton Airport has greatly overstated the economic benefits of the expansion and underplayed the environmental impacts. Following an oral hearing in December, permission was granted for a JR, and this was finally heard on April 27 and 28, with Justice Holgate presiding over the case. The review considered the environmental impacts of the scheme, legal and planning issues and whether the plan should have been called in. The judge said a confidential draft of his decision would be circulated to the QCs and their legal teams in the coming days, with a final version to be made public shortly after.
Southampton Airport runway extension decision set for judicial review
The residents group, GOESA Ltd, that has been challenging plans to extend the runway at Southampton Airport, have won the right to take the matter to judicial review (JR). The judicial review will take place in the New Year, submitting evidence to the High Court, but the date is not yet known. GOESA Ltd is crowdfunding to raise the money for the legal costs. The plans to extend the runway by 164m (538ft) were approved by Eastleigh Borough Council in April. Initially campaigners against the plans had their request for a JR refused by the High Court, but that has now been overturned. Rowan Smith, the group’s solicitor, said: “They will now have another opportunity to convince the court that permission for an expanded Southampton Airport was unlawfully granted and should be reversed.” The airport claims all sorts of economic benefits from the runway extension. The leader of Eastleigh Borough Council hopes the legal processes can happen quickly, so the airport can proceed quickly with its plans, which he claims are good for the regional economy….