27 March 2021
Members of the Green Party in Southampton are this morning pleased about the decision to refuse the extension of the runway.
At last local councillors have started to see the crucial nature of the climate emergency that we are all facing and have made the right decision. We must congratulate them for this as they went against the advice of their planning officers.
After months of campaigning by green groups such as AXO, Friends of the Earth and the Green Party councillors have come out against the extension of the runway at Southampton International Airport.
Strong evidence was presented on the negative impacts of this plan and some councillors seemed to be deaf to the cautions. Unfortunately it was not unanimous and 3 councillors voted in favour with 5 against.
People living under the flight path in Bishopstoke, Bitterne, St Denys, Twyford and Portswood will be able to sleep well tonight. The congestion on local roads, often already at gridlock was stressed in many of the arguments made by councillors who came out against the expansion. The health issues were raised by a number of the committee, the impact on mental health, wellbeing, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease being among their concerns.
The decision was made by a planning local area committee of the full council, otherwise known as ELAC and as a result of them going against the advice of their planning officers the decision has now been referred to the full council and will be heard on 8th April 2021.
Katherine Barbour, Green Party candidate for Portswood ward says, “This was the right decision by the local area committee. Having declared a climate emergency in the borough any other decision would have been hypocritical. The councillors were influenced by the arguments made by AXO and others including me about the noise impacts of the airport expansion. This is the wrong place for an airport, you do not build airports next to conurbations.
Still reflecting on the virtual meeting Katherine focussed on another participant's thoughts,
'One idea made by an objector was to merge Bournemouth and Southampton airports, having the smaller planes going from Southampton and the jet planes operating out of Bournemouth. It is less than 30 minutes between the two airports and a shuttle could be set up to transport people between the two sites. A railway link could even be established if a small amount of extra track was created.”