High Court refuses Southampton Airport runway objectors' appeal

By Stephen Slominski

eastleigh borough council tackling climate change and airport sign 460Eastleigh’s civic and political leaders have hailed a decision by the High Court to refuse an appeal over the legality of the planning permission that was granted for an extension of Southampton Airport’s runway.

 

Environmental Campaign group AXO Southampton – who had helped crowdfund over £90,000 to take Eastleigh Borough Council to court – have expressed their disappointment on social media and have suggested that a further appeal might follow.

In a statement the Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Keith House said: "This is good news and supports the High Court’s previous decision in October 2021 to reject a Judicial Review of the decision made by the Council to permit an extension to the runway.

"This now means that the airport can move forward with its plans, save the airport for the future, generate jobs for our local economy and secure tough controls on overall passenger numbers to protect our environment."

Southampton Airport described the High Court’s decision as ‘an exciting srep forward’ adding: "The extension will secure the airport’s long-term viability and deliver significant economic benefits to the region, not least the creation of much-needed new jobs, including employment opportunities during the construction phase.

"We appreciate that some of our neighbours have concerns regarding noise and the environment. As an airport, we want to work with residents and stakeholders to manage and mitigate these concerns going forward."

Eastleigh’s MP Paul Holmes was also delighted by the outcome of the Judicial Review and said in a press release: "This plan, which will directly benefit my constituents by bringing skilled jobs and fire up regional growth in Hampshire and beyond, will now be allowed to progress to the next stage.

"Going forward, I look forward to working with local authorities, residents, and other stakeholders to bring the benefits of this much-needed positive development to my constituents in Eastleigh as soon as possible.

However on their twitter feed AXO Southampton did not rule out further action and called for "honesty" from the aiport: "We’re very disappointed, though there remains the possibility of an appeal.

"Our main concern is for the changing climate and local people who will end up suffering a lot more aircraft noise.

"We call on the airport to genuinely engage with the people who will be affected, and to do everything they can to encourage airlines to use less noisy jets.

"We also call on the airport to be honest about flying’s damaging effects on the climate (which are much more than the ‘direct operations’ they promise to make ‘net zero’) and the implausibility of mass ‘green’ aviation being possible within decades."

By extending the the runway 164 metres northwards the airport would be open to operators using aircraft with a higher passenger capacity and extended range. Although the original airport masterplan predicted four million passengers by 2027, only 263k passengers used the airport last year due to Covid. In October the airport owners AGS announced that the impact of the pandemic has resulted in a pre-tax loss of £138 million for 2020 and said that passenger numbers across its portfolio of three airports (Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen) had collapsed by 75%..

This article originally appeared in Eastleigh News

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