Final decision on Southampton Airport expansion expected today

A final decision on controversial plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport will be made today. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A final decision on controversial plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport will be made today.

Councillors will decide whether to approve proposals to expand the runway by 164m and add parking spaces.

The Airport's operations director has warned that if proposals do not go ahead, thousands of jobs could be lost.

He adds the extension is "vital to the recovery of the local economy".

Steve Szalay says: "This isn't just about myself and the airport team that are speaking today; this is about 2,500 jobs.

"So a vote today would be a vote to secure 2,500 jobs. This is also about a vote to secure the 500 jobs that already exist, but then also to grow those jobs, and lord only knows with the state of the economy at the minute, we're going to need those jobs."

But campaigners say it will have a huge impact on noise and pollution.

Lyn Brayshaw from AXO Group says: "By extending the runway, it changes a lot of impacts of the airport; the pollution, the noise, the 46,000 people affected by the noise. So it is more than just an extra bit of runway."

"We're in a climate emergency and we need to be investing in green jobs and technology much more than we are.

"The pandemic has shown us that prevention is more cost-effective than dealing with the effects later so this is true for all the issues involved. We need to be taking action now."

The plans were first unveiled in 2019 and have been the subject of four consultations.

Members of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee at Eastleigh Borough Council will make a final decision during a virtual meeting set to start at 10am, and is expected the last 8-12 hours.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

What are the plans?

  • The plans include construction of a 164 metre runway extension at the northern end.

  • 600 extra parking spaces at the long-stay car park off Mitchell Way.

  • A blast screen to the north of the proposed runway extension.

What are the noise concerns?

According to proposals, the number of people affected by noise would go from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033.

Planning officers said the noise impacts arising from the proposed development are "a significant concern".

But they also said mitigation measures would make a "positive difference".

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