I read with interest the article by Sam Hatherly in the Echo on Monday (Nov 11) regarding the peaceful protest in relation to the tree management work which the airport plans to conduct at Marlhill Copse.

In the article, it states that the airport has applied to fell 27 trees “to make way for expansion.”

This is not the case.

As has been detailed in the Echo previously, we are conducting the tree management work as part of aerodrome safeguarding activities required under European legislation.

We recently had to close the copse to the public after we received advice from a specialist arboriculturalist that a number of the trees in the copse were in a condition that presented a danger to the public.

As responsible landowners, we closed off the copse to remove the risk of falling limbs and other hazards.

We have begun preparatory work to clear the ground and are following the proper legal process to allow us to carry out any felling required.

We have also begun a planting programme, will be planting new trees as we go along, and carrying out a very carefully co-ordinated woodland management plan to ensure that the copse is returned to the local community in a healthier condition than it is now, to provide a beautiful, natural space for the public to enjoy for years to come.

At the same time, but separate to this, we are also in the process of submitting a planning application which, if successful, will enable us to extend our runway by 164 metres.

No felling activities are required in order to make space for this small runway extension, it will be an extension of tarmac, fully contained within the existing boundaries of the airport.

Lots of information is available on our website about both projects, and we will be holding more public information drop-in sessions to provide members of our local community lots of opportunity to speak to us with any questions they may have.

We want the people of Southampton and our region to have even greater choice and flexibility in how they choose to travel, and are fully committed to responsible, sustainable growth.

Neil Garwood

Managing Director

Southampton Airport