AXO update – keeping you informed

Following the vote by Eastleigh Council to approve the extension to Southampton Airport runway we’ve received lots of offers of support and new members. So many people are concerned about how much noise pollution would impact their lives. People are also worried about the impact of expanding aviation on climate and the risk of further pandemics.

Some were unaware that the increased noise would reach their home until the council meeting and all are unconvinced that the claims of economic promise outweigh the costs to local people.

We’ve not given up and have been pushing for a call-in of the decision from Secretary of State for Communities, Robert Jenrick, asking for the planning application to extend the runway by 164m to be looked at again for these three reasons:

  1. The increase in greenhouse gas emissions of 370kt/year resulting from the development are matters of general importance, and conflict with national policy represented by the amended Climate Change Act 2008, and its associated carbon budgets. Despite awareness that the December 2020 Climate Change Committee recommendations might lead to changes in Government policy within a very few weeks the decision was rushed through rather than deferred until there was more clarity. However, repeatedly throughout the planning meeting the officers, applicant and councillors stated that aviation climate change emissions should be dealt with at national level. Calling in this decision is a way to ensure that this is so.
  2. The adverse noise impacts will occur predominantly in neighbouring Council areas rather than in the area of Eastleigh Borough Council, the Local Planning Authority in this case, and the economic cost/benefits are also not specific to Eastleigh Borough.  The application is opposed by the neighbouring authorities of Southampton and Winchester City Councils, so we believe there will be a democratic deficit if this matter is determined solely by Eastleigh Borough Council.
  3. These cross-boundary issues have led to significant controversy and media coverage within the sub-region, and at a national level regarding the conflict between airport expansion and the UK’s climate change targets.  We believe that the application should be subject to a public inquiry to assess all these matters in an objective manner and make recommendations for your final decision.

We’re so grateful for the help offered and conscious that many supporters are keen to take action. Thank you to all the individuals and organisations that have contacted the Secretary of State to also request this call in! 

We are also signatory of a joint open letter from the Aviation Environment Federation to Grant Shapps and Robert Jenrick requesting a moratorium on airport expansion. 

… the Climate Change Committee has made clear that adequate airport capacity already exists to meet the future levels of demand it deems to be compatible with a balanced pathway to achieving net zero by 2050, and advises therefore that there should be no net increase in airport capacity unless the industry over-delivers emissions reductions …

AEF Request for a moratorium on airport expansion (open letter)

We’re still waiting to hear the outcome of these actions and are preparing our response. We will be in touch as soon as the next steps are clear. 

Finally, with restrictions apparently easing and airlines announcing busier schedules and  new routes, we are all concerned about an increase in noise disturbance. Do use the Southampton Airport Noise telephone line (02380 62 7070) and dedicated email address (sounoisecomplaints@southamptonairport.com) through which noise complaints are logged. To determine the exact flight, we recommend checking a flight tracker such as https://uk.flightaware.com or https://www.flightradar24.com.

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