Your next MP – candidates’ views

Dear Candidate,

The airport plans to extend its runway in order to accommodate more and bigger aircraft. It forecasts a doubling of passenger numbers by 2027. This will increase noise and air pollution affecting local people and make it much harder to avoid catastrophic climate change.

1. Southampton City Council {Eastleigh BC} has declared a climate emergency. Do you agree that urgent action is needed on the climate? [Yes/No/Undecided]

2. Are you in favour of Southampton Airport expansion? [Yes/No/Undecided]

Any other comments?

Southampton TEST Constituency

Kathryn Barbour – The Green Party:

1. Yes, urgent action is needed, we cannot wait another day.  We led on the Industrial Revolution and it is up to us to lead on addressing climate change immediately.  Temperatures are rising, sea levels are rising and we are experiencing heatwaves and floods.  We must implement the Paris Agreement.  We need to plant more trees, for the first time in 40 years we are cutting down more trees in the UK than we are planting.  On an individual level we can reduce our family size, buy locally, repair, recycle and reuse.  At a city level we can look at every application through the lens of climate change and at a national level we can impose a carbon tax and dividend on citizens and switch to renewable energy such as electricity.

2. No, the Green Party is against airport expansion.  Air travel is at the point of the triangle of behaviours that we must curb.  The main reasons we are against air travel are due to the impact on air quality, use of fuels, noise pollution, sustainability and the carbon production from fuel and activities around the airport.  In the context of Southampton airport expansion there will also be tree felling at Marlhill Copse – we need more trees as carbon sinks.  Trees = natural climate solutions.

 Any other comments – This election has been described as an election about Brexit but the climate is much more important in the long term and if we don’t address the damage that is being done across the planet there will be no world for our children and grandchildren. 

Steve Galton – Conservative Party:

I am currently waiting for the full information within the planning application. As a local Councillor I attended a briefing for members on the proposed plans last night.
My decision will be made on the basis of the scientific information within the application itself. My understanding of the plans so far (from briefings) are it is the areas of Bitterne Park and Townhill that will be most affected by noise. The frequency and types of emissions from aircraft engines will be almost negligible at sensitive receptors and will not increase any Southampton level above or even near to statutory guidelines. The data for these facts will be in the planning application and I will study this carefully before deciding on any reply to the planning consultation. I will be looking very carefully for any affect on our AQMA areas, as negligible or not – these areas need air quality improving immediately.
I always base my decisions on the scientific evidence eg will the ability to have larger aircraft enable cleaner and quieter engine technology – prevent more car journeys to major hubs like Gatwick/Heathrow – or will it cause more local issues and increase local pollution. Additionally there should be information around what steps the aviation industry is taking to reduce emissions and negate carbon footprints and how this sits with the plan to expand Southampton.

It was environmental concerns that got me involved in local politics when I played a major part in the No Southampton Biomass campaign against plans for a large scale power station in the Western Docks. I have been attempting to raise the issue of local air pollution for nearly a decade now. It is fair to say when I started the majority of people saw me raising air quality at every opportunity as something of an amusement – now it is seen as a top political priority!
Despite this, here in Southampton we have had the current Labour run Council put next to no financial resources in tackling environmental issues like our air quality. The vast majority of projects from increasing safe, dedicated cycle routes to retro-fitting technology to buses to reduce emissions; has come from Conservative government grants. Year after year local Conservatives have pressed for action, and importantly highlighted areas Labour could have put investment in to if they were serious about tackling our environmental issues. What we need is action, not just talk.
The UK is leading the way in terms of addressing climate issues and as your MP I would like to ensure we take people and other countries with us. This is a global issue and one we must all play a part in tackling. It is important to have realistic targets and goals; and that technology works to find the solutions. I also understand the challenges we have here in Southampton and feel I could do a better job to help secure funding and solutions to our problems locally.
Hope this helps and clarifies my own position for you.

Alan Whitehead – The Labour Party:

  1. Yes. The climate emergency is the biggest threat facing us, locally, nationally and globally. I’ve spend much of my career working on solutions including most recently tabling the legislation to bring our net zero carbon targets forward.
  2. No. The main issue in this part of the world is potential expansion of Heathrow airport and the third runway. Regional airports do have a positive role in providing alternatives to these big airport hubs alongside a reduction in air travel. That said in the case of Southampton there is not enough evidence to me that the positives outweigh the negatives and so I am opposed. 

Joe Richards – Liberal Democrats:

1.Yes. There is no doubt we need to take drastic urgent action.
We must also do so in a way that protects the wellbeing of our citizens in the process.
There is much detail to the policy that can get us there, but the key mechanism is in placing decision making power above The Treasury, meaning policy is evaluated on its impact on the environment and our wellbeing, and not just economic growth. 

2. No. The Lib Dems have a clear policy for a moratorium on airport expansion.
Considering air travel’s contribution to the climate crisis I can’t see myself supporting a single further runway until we have airplanes that reduce carbon whilst in the air – a technology we could  aim for if we got our economic priorities right.

Southampton ITCHEN Constituency

Liz Jarvis – Liberal Democrats:

Thanks for getting in touch. 
I’ve spoken to many local people who would be directly impacted by the expansion of Southampton Airport and are justifiably concerned about air and noise pollution. We recently had a stall in Bitterne Park Triangle where we invited people to sign our petition against the expansion of Southampton Airport, and the petition is also live on the Soton Lib Dems website at  https://southampton-libdems.org.uk/en/petition/southampton-airport-expansion

As I’m sure you’re aware Labour launched the Green City Charter earlier this year inviting businesses to sign up and commit to reducing carbon production but one of the founding signatories was Southampton Airport.
In answer to your questions:

1. Yes I agree 100% that urgent action is needed to tackle the climate emergency and the Liberal Democrats are 100% committed to this. Our manifesto pledges for this election include realistic and tangible plans, including plans to generate 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030, and insulating all low-income homes by 2025.
2. No. I’m against the expansion of Southampton Airport and if elected will fight to stop it and give a voice in Parliament to all those people who will be impacted by its expansion. 
I hope this helps.

Simon Letts – The Labour Party:

  1. Yes
  2. No. My position is that we should have a moratorium on all airport expansions until we have a national plan on achieving carbon neutrality. Air travel will be a small but significant element of this plan and requires the adoption of a national strategy on airports. Rather than the current case by case planning approach.

Osman Sen-Chadun – The Green Party:

1. Yes, absolutely. Whilst urgent action is required the world over, and the scale of the climate emergency can sometimes leave people wondering where to start, the one thing we can do is start at home and set an example for others to follow. If there’s one thing the UK has always been great at, it’s thought leadership, and leading the way in areas such as industry and technology.  If we can focus on the climate emergency at the level the crisis requires, and genuinely work to hit our carbon neutrality targets by 2030, we may stand a chance of succeeding.  Southampton already suffers from air pollution problems, and expanding the airport is only going to exacerbate this problem, not reduce it. Are the knock-on effects on public health and the risk of further strain on our health system worth it? 
Southampton City Council have indeed declared a climate emergency, but a declaration is one thing, action is another. We need our the council to step up to these difficult decisions, accept that corporations may not like being denied the right to expand, but also accept that the problem they’ll create by continually allowing environmental damage, will in the long-term become more damaging to everyone, including the businesses concerned.  As an alternative, why not invite these organisations to help overcome these issues by becoming part of the solution to the problem, instead of making things worse.  These organisations are experts in their field, understand their market and customers better than anyone, so why not accept a short-term growth reduction in lieu of a long-term vision by investing in the development of alternative, greener travel solutions, that in time could become their next generation revenues. This has to be better for everyone than attempting to force upon us the environmentally damaging status quo of today.

2.No. Airport expansion will fuel further environmental problems such as air and noise pollution across our locality.  Expansion of this nature is unethical, and completely against the Green Party aims of achieving carbon neutrality.  Organisations and individuals alike need to seriously consider reducing their air travel.  One must question the difference between what is necessary and what is non-essential, and if a carbon tax can help in this decision process, and incentivise a reduction in air travel across the board, as well as help funding alternatives by those who absolutely must travel, then this is no bad thing.  Preventing airport expansion also saves Marhill Copse; it’s trees and wildlife which I understand includes badgers, deer and birds.  Southampton Airport should have a duty of care to their “natural neighbours” in these wildlife areas, and as much as they look to protect their business against future risks, should also look to protect their neighbours – by this I mean all wildlife; trees and animals – who are unable to fight back, and who depend on us for protection, as we depend on the benefits they bring to our environment.

Romsey and Southampton North Constituency

Caroline Nokes – Conservative Party:

I absolutely concur there is a climate emergency and we all need to do more to reduce emissions.

However, when it comes to the expansion of Southampton airport I would like to see a thorough analysis of whether regional airport expansion reduces the likelihood of people needing to travel to hub airports like Heathrow and Gatwick and thus might be less of a negative than one might assume.

Claire Ransom – The Labour Party:

1. Southampton City Council has declared a climate emergency. Do you agree that urgent action is needed on the climate? Yes

2. Are you in favour of Southampton Airport expansion? No. Currently, I am not in favour of the expansion, these are some of the reasons why:

As AXO point out, the expansion would lead to increased levels of road traffic with associated congestion and air pollution as well as air pollution and noise from flights. We need assurances that sustainable and environmentally friendly public transport will receive investment, be increased, and information on how that will be funded.

Local residents (in Eastleigh and Southampton) will be affected by the expansion and noise levels are already a significant issue for them. Greener and quieter aeronautic technology really needs to be developed and used before any permissions are given for this expansion.

I recognise that the expansion of the airport could bring additional employment opportunities for local people and commercial opportunities for local businesses, but I agree with AXO that the decision on this application should be delayed until after the Airspace Change consultation process is completed. We can’t ignore the impact on the environment or residents under or near the flight path. To assist the growth of the local economy it would be sensible to first invest in developing green technology jobs that are linked to air travel and then consider airport expansion. This type of strategy would better assist the protection of our environment.

I strongly believe that we should be investing in our railways and other forms of public transport that do not involve increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions. I agree that supporting airport expansion is incompatible with the declaration of our climate emergency and we need to take responsibility at a local and regional level for reducing CO2 emissions to help reduce national and global emissions.

Southampton City Council has noted that:
“long and short-term exposure to air pollution are known to adversely affect health and air pollution is still the largest environmental risk linked to deaths every year… Over 100 deaths a year in Southampton are attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution”.

Air quality in Southampton is affected by the levels of air pollution, due to the port operations as well as the airport. Eastleigh Borough Council’s screening opinion document notes that the airport expansion “proposal would facilitate a significant increase in the number of flights operating from the airport and this would most likely result in a significant increase in vehicles accessing the airport”.
As Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions from road transport result in poor air quality, I would like greater clarity on what mitigating measures the developer would fund (using planning obligations) to offset any increase in local air pollutant emissions as a consequence of the proposed expansion; as well as assurances that the developer will fulfil all mitigating measures. It is deeply unsatisfactory that in the published ‘Environmental Statement Chapter 16: Mitigation Summary and Implementation’ document there is no mitigation identified despite the acknowledgement that the effects of climate change on regional pollutant transport and atmospheric chemistry is potentially significant.

In addition, the Mitigation Summary and Implementation states that the mitigation measure of providing electric aircraft and bio jet infrastructure will be a compliance factor “if requested by airlines”. This isn’t good enough; this should be a mandatory part of the airport’s infrastructure if it is expanded. I really do not feel that the current proposal commits to doing enough to prevent the potential impact of the development on our environment and climate.

To my mind, in order to protect the environment, it would be far better to find ways of making rail fares cheaper and services more reliable. When flights are cheaper than rail fares and journey times by air shorter, there’s little to encourage travellers to use trains, which are a more environmentally friendly form of transport. As the Labour candidate for Romsey and Southampton North I fully support nationalising our railways and creating more reliable services that use greener technology with renewable and sustainable energy.

From reading the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approach, it concerns me that there is an assumption that the proposed development will be constructed in accordance with industry standard techniques. I am concerned that these industry standards are not likely to be as environmentally friendly or sustainable as they could or need to be to ensure impact on our environment is minimised or mitigated entirely. We also need assurances that the construction methods and materials that are intended to be used will minimise waste and negative impact on the environment. It is worrying that there is no waste chapter in the Environmental Impact Assessment.

I’m also conscious that Test Valley Borough Council have ceased issuing planning permission for new homes due to the issue of nitrates entering the River Test (which feeds into the Solent). Currently, high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus input have been recorded entering this water environment and evidence suggests that this is having a negative impact on biodiversity in the vicinity. It is acknowledged that housing and other developments are causing damage to the biodiversity and there is evidence that further development, without mitigation, would add to this problem. It is my view that Eastleigh Borough Council should really follow Test Valley’s position and recognise the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) (‘Habitat Regulations)’, and the responsibilities conferred on it as a ‘competent authority’.

The Environmental Statement written by Savills, in paragraph 16.1.14 states that:
“…the socio-economic impacts are beneficial in nature and may serve to reduce negative effects experienced as a result of other impacts. For example, the sensitivity of occupiers in nearby properties experiencing noise impacts may reduce (i.e. they become more tolerant of environmental noise) in the context of the socio-economic benefits that the Proposed Development will bring.”

I do not believe that the anticipated socio-economic benefits will mean residents will become tolerant of noise impacts and nor would any socio-economic benefits mitigate (or make anyone more tolerant of) the negative effect on our climate.

The airport expansion plans (as they stand) require significant revision and must prioritise the environment before I will be able to support them.

Eastleigh

Lynda Murphy – Liberal Democrats:

  1. Yes. I definitely agree that urgent action is needed on climate change.
  2. No. Here is a link to my comments on the airport expansion http://www.eastleighlibdems.org.uk/lynda_airport

Paul Holmes – Conservative Party:

1: Yes. 2. Yes. However this on the basis that Southampton Airport implements its plan to reduce carbon emissions on site. Additionally, the airport must commit to working with the airline industry to reduce noise and environmental pollution whilst encouraging innovative and new technologies, both on the ground and on aircraft using the area. There must also be significant improvements in the infrastructure to mitigate an increase in passenger numbers. 

Sam Jordan – The Labour Party:

Thanks for getting in touch. Big subject for me, this.
I’ve lived in Eastleigh for 30 years and seen airport uptake grow but infrastructure not. Moreover, I entirely agree that we’re in a climate emergency and enabling more airplanes (what looks to be predominantly aimed at the private aircraft market) to land in Eastleigh is not acceptable.

1. Eastleigh Borough Council has declared a climate emergency. Do you agree that urgent action is needed on the climate? Yes

2. Are you in favour of Southampton Airport expansion? No

We simply cannot trust the Lib Dems to do anything apart from break promises. They may on paper not back this activity but, same as student fees, failure to address disabled access on Bishopstoke bridge, house building that is in the wrong place, with the wrong material, with no upgrade in infrastructure, this is what we can expect from these individuals who have no local interests. I’m not sure any other candidate lives in the airport flight path apart from me. 
Thanks for getting in touch. If I can do anything else, please don’t hesitate to let me know. This airport expansion is a big thing for me and I’m unwilling to let yet another Lib Dem vanity project ruin our community.

Ron Meldrum – The Green Party:

As you may have seen I have twice now had letters published in the evening echo stating that I was in complete opposition to the local airport expansion.
It is clear that this will affect some 100,000 people living under the flight path with both extra noise and air pollution. Aviation fumes are said be carcinogenic and can only add the premature deaths already being caused by poor air quality in the area.
With regards to climate change, the science is clear. Mankind must do everything in his power to reduce the CO2 going into the atmosphere. It has recently been calculated that the airport will increase Eastleigh’s carbon footprint by almost 100% which will only help to accelerate climate change

It is clear if we want a safe planet for our children and grand children, the expansion must not go ahead.

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