City bosses object to Southampton Airport expansion plans [Daily Echo, 28/01/20]
City bosses have objected to the plans to expand Southampton airport.
After hours of discussion in a busy council chamber, the planning committee at Southampton City Council decided not to back the plans to expand the airport’s runway by 164 metres and add an extra 600 parking spaces to the existing long stay car park.
The impact the expansion would have on noise and pollution were among the main reasons for the objection.
The decision made by the Planning and Rights of Way Panel during a special meeting held last night was welcomed with a round of applause from the campaigners in the public gallery.
Planning officers had recommended that the panel would ask the airport to provide further details.
At the meeting members were told that no sufficient information was provided as regards the impact on traffic, noise, climate change, air quality, trees, ecology and economic benefits.
Neil Garwood, managing director at Southampton Airport, told the panel he was committed to work with the council to ensure that further information is provided.
Stressing the need for the expansion he added: ” The events in recent weeks have shown that the aviation industry are subject to changes and there’s instability in the market place and it is necessary that the airport continues to be viable and to be viable it needs to expand the runway.”
But campaigners asked civic chiefs to object to the plans.
Lyn Brayshaw, from Friends of the Earth Southampton, said the plans would “make a mockery of the green city charter” the city council launched last year in a bid to tackle air pollution.
Ahead of the meeting campaigners had also protested outside the civic centre to raise their concerns.
Katherine Barbour, a member of action group AXO, told councillors that Southampton airport “is not in the right location to become larger and busier”.
Bitterne Park councillor David Fuller said the expansion would have a significant impact on the quality of life of the people living near the airport and urged councillors to think about residents.
Cllr John Savage, chair of the panel, said the council has to protect the future of the people living in the city.
After the meeting he added: “We do recognised that having an airport with promised economic growth come from it sounds marvellous but the economic argument wasn’t sufficiently well argued. Lots of issues weren’t dealt with well enough to be able to see the evidence stacked up in order to support the application at all. I am a councillor for this city and the health and wellbeing of people in this city is my responsibility and I cannot allow a plan to go forward that is going to damage the health of people in the city.”