DOZENS of people protested in Southampton before asking city bosses to oppose the expansion of Southampton Airport.

Campaigners banged drums, sang and handed out leaflets to the public during a demonstration in Guildhall Square yesterday afternoon (Nov 20) before heading to the civic centre to take part in the full council meeting.

The council chamber was packed as members of the Airport eXpansion Opposition (AXO) presented  a petition signed by 1,900 people to councillors asking them to object to the plans to expand the airport’s runway by 164 metres.  Campaigner Angela Cotton told civic chiefs residents are concerned about the impact the expansion of the airport would have on noise, air pollution, traffic and the environment.

Talking to councillors she added: "Twyford Parish Council will object, please join them."

Cllr Rob Harwood said many residents in Bitterne Park are concerned about the proposals and the impact they could have on the area.

"It is imperative that residents' concerns are heard and taken in to account," he added.

As previously reported, a planning application is expected to be submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council soon.

Councillors invited campaigners in the chamber and residents to comment on the application once it is submitted to the borough council.

Many of them also stressed the importance of waiting for the full details to be published and promised to scrutinise the documents.

Cllr John Savage, chair of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel in Southampton, said: "We are not allowed to make a judgement until we see the evidence. We really need to look at the evidence."

During the demonstration campaigners Lyn Brayshaw said the plans to expand the airport clash with the climate emergency the city council declared and the Green City Charter it launched in June in a bid to fight pollution.

She said there is not Planet B and added: "We would like Southampton to object to the airport's expansion because for a city that is really proud to have been one of the first cities to declare a climate emergency and for a city that has made a big thing of the green city charter we feel this completely contradicts it. We know that airport's expansion is not sustainable. If Southampton Airport went from two million to five million passengers whatever the airport does about it it is going to cause more pollution."

Opposition leader councillor Dan Fitzhenry said there are some "deep concerns" and councillors have to be mindful of them.

Cllr Steve Leggett, cabinet member for  green city and environment at Southampton City Council added: "When this planning application is made available we will scrutinise this and we will make a submission to Eastleigh Borough Council and we will take in to account comments made by residents."

Southampton Airport had previously said they respect campaigners' views and stressed  the airport will continue to grow "sustainably and responsibly, sensitive to the needs of the local community".