I WAS surprised to see that Southampton airport is still pursuing expansion plans when most aviation infrastructure changes seem to be at least on hold during the pandemic downturn and the climate emergency concerns.

On the other hand it may be a good time when most focus is on Covid and the promise of saving or creating jobs could give an automatic ‘thumbs up’ for projects.

The key item in this proposal is the 530 foot extension to the runway.

Previously the airport has successfully served the short haul routes in the UK and Europe using turboprop and ‘light’ jet airliners and these have a relatively low impact on the surrounding environment.

The potential to successfully still operate in this way will remain as air travel recovers of course.

However, the runway extension will ensure that the predominant airliners will now be of the ‘medium weight’ Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 types.

These have a much bigger noise and environmental footprint especially as the residential neighbours are much closer than at many other airports and particularly effected will be those on the approach and departure tracks - Winchester, Eastleigh and Townhill Park areas.

The nearby Bournemouth and Gatwick airports have plenty of capacity and the space suited to serve this type of aircraft without the major environmental change that will happen here.

Once the concrete is laid there is no guarantee that any restrictions that might be given now will always continue in the future,

Just hoping that the significance of this proposal is fully examined and debated at this time of many distractions.

P Burt