As a retired teacher, I find it highly amusing to read the claim by Katherine Barbour on behalf of Southampton Green Party that low-flying aircraft will harm the education of pupils at Bitterne Park Secondary and St Denys Primary schools.

Really? An occasional plane passing low over the school for a couple of seconds? Get real.

I note that she refers to schoolchildren as 'students', a common error.

They are not, they are pupils.

They only become students when they pass the age of compulsory attendance and choose to continue to study.

I also note that she claims that they'll suffer from planes taking off and over-flying their schools during the 30 hours a week of term-time.

Surely whatever harm they allegedly endure applies equally when they're at home - for the rest of the week and all the school holidays? And their parents, too.

The inconvenience of an occasional low-flying plane is nothing compared to the burden of continuous traffic noise endured by people living close to the motorway, a cause I first took up in the 1990s when I was a borough councillor for West End.

Claims that the airport ought to be sited away from urban development overlook the fact that when it opened in 1909 it was.

Much of Bitterne and Bishopstoke and none of Townhill Park had been built - what was then open countryside has since been developed.

And, of course, it needs to be repeated that everyone living there now knew the airport was there before they decided to move in.

Our airport has always served to boost the local economy, as well as being more convenient than Bournemouth, Gatwick or Heathrow.

When I served on the airport consultative committee some 30 years ago and expansion was first sought, we insisted that there be no night flights other than emergencies and one mail plane shortly after 11 o'clock.

The extension to the runway is to accommodate technological advances: larger planes which are quieter and use less fuel.

This ought to commend itself to supporters of the Green Party, unless they're fantasists who think we're all going to give up flying completely and go overland and use ferries to get to the Balearics or the Canary Islands for holidays.

Martin Kyrle

Chandler's Ford