CAMPAIGNERS are to protest against the expansion of Southampton Airport before asking city councillors to object to the plans.

Residents are expected to take part in a demonstration in Guildhall Square at 1pm today (Nov 20) to voice their concerns over the impact the plans to extend the airport’s runway by 164 metres would have on the environment and pollution.

It comes as a petition signed by 1,900 people asking city councillors to oppose the expansion will be discussed at the full council meeting set to be held at the civic centre today at 2pm.

The airport said it has and will continue to work with ecologists, environmental and technical experts to ensure the planned development is carried out "sensitive to the needs of the community".

But Extinction Rebellion, Friends of The Earth Southampton and  Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) have joined forces in a bid to persuade city bosses.

Gareth Narbed, speaking on behalf of AXO, said: "I'm  hoping that there will be a clear statement saying that Southampton City Council oppose the airport's expansion. We are in a climate emergency, we need a clear statement  about climate emergency and the airport expansion is totally incompatible with declaring a climate emergency. The council needs to oppose the airport expansion. It's unnecessary and harmful."

Campaigners said the plans clash with the Green City Charter that Southampton City Council launched in June this year in a bid to tackle pollution.

Earlier this week councillor Steve Leggett, cabinet member for green city and environment at Southampton City Council, said civic chiefs will scrutinise the plans once they will be submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council. 

Opposition leader Dan Fitzhenry said his group will be listening to the campaigners and ensure their views are fed into the planning application.

A spokesperson for Southampton Airport said the airport has met with the campaigners and spoken with them at length.

In a statement the airport added: "Whilst we fully respect their views, flying from your local airport removes thousands of unnecessary car journeys from our roads every year.

"We know people still want to fly - it’s about finding the most sustainable way forward.Our extremely carefully considered planning application will provide all the detail behind our development plans and we are hopeful that the members of Southampton City Council will review this when it goes live and endorse our plans for sustainable growth, which will bring 400 extra jobs to the area and boost financial investment from £160million a year to £275 million. "