LABOUR councillors have objected to the expansion of Southampton airport.

Southampton City Council leader Christopher Hammond has written a letter to planning bosses urging them to object to the plans.

Here is the letter by Cllr Hammond in full:

“You will be shortly considering a response on behalf of the City Council regarding the application to expand Southampton Airport and I am writing to outline the position of the Labour Group at Southampton City Council.

“The issue is undeniably complex, and people will disagree about the right approach. As efforts to stop climate breakdown gather momentum, more questions such as this one will arise, and forging consensus will be key. But, at  this time and with the application in its current form, we would urge the committee to resolve to write to Eastleigh Borough Council asking it to reject the application.

“Southampton City Council recognised that there was a climate emergency in 2017 and is allocating £60m towards tackling this. In June 2019, we were pleased to launch the first Green City Charter with Southampton Airport as a founding signatory. Sadly, the expansion plans using existing technologies would exacerbate the climate crisis, not end it. The airport’s own estimate is that carbon emissions will rise on average by 350,000 tonnes a year, making it harder for the Airport and Southampton to become carbon neutral by 2030 and meet our commitments.

“Stopping climate change doesn’t mean an outright ban on travel, stopping holidays and linking communities; it’s about promoting cleaner international travel and speedy, affordable, clean rail rather than domestic flying. Here, we need Government to set a plan to match their ambition for a Zero Carbon Britain by 2050.

“As well as our environmental concerns, a busy airport undoubtedly impacts those who live around it. Currently 5,400 households are affected by noise from aircraft taking off and landing. Should the expansion go ahead, this will eventually rise to 18,400 households, mainly around Bitterne Park, Midanbury and Townhill Park.

“You will rightly look at the application impartially, however we wish to give our view that these plans would add to a gridlocked infrastructure, increase the number of households negatively affected by noise pollution from the airport from 5,400 to 18,400 and worsen our climate crisis.

“Therefore, we would urge the committee to object to the expansion.”