Council rejects plans for Southampton Airport runway expansion for second time

Controversial plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport have been rejected by the council for a second time.

Airport bosses want to extend the runway by 164 metres within existing boundaries.

Southampton City Council objected to the plans in January this year, due to concerns over noise and climate change.

But Southampton Airport has since amended the proposals and the city council was asked to confirm its position again. 

Airport bosses argued the expansion would boost the local economy.

Steve Szalay Credit: Southampton Airport

Back in July, Steve Szalay warned a rejection of the plans could risk thousands of jobs.

He said at the time: "With the impact to employment from this pandemic already weighing heavy, we can do something to secure the jobs at the airport by getting this extension built.  If we don’t, the reality is that more than 2,000 jobs will be at risk, creating a huge knock-on impact on thousands of local households."

In a meeting held online, leader of the opposition, Cllr Dan Fitzhenry, said the proposed plans were more acceptable than the original ones.

He said: "The key reasons for that are about the economy because it is crucial."

Cllr Lisa Mitchell, chair of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel, raised concerns over the impact on climate change and noise.

She added: "I am not satisfied with the mitigation levels. I do appreciate the airport has moved a little closer to us from our objection last time. But I do have a number of concerns."

Councillors decided to maintain their initial objection to the plans.

A final decision will be taken by councillors in Eastleigh on December 17.