THE OFFICERS' decision to recommend approving the airport's planning application despite 'unacceptable' noise levels doesn't make sense.

The planning report says the application should be refused without 'adequate mitigation' but then fails to explain how the mitigation offered can possibly be regarded as ‘adequate’.

The report rightly points out that existing measures such as noise preferred routes don’t count because they are already factored into the assessment, but then fails to note that the same is true of the noise cap.

This is set at the level for three million passengers, i.e. the very level described as ‘unacceptable’ in the report.

So it doesn't mitigate the effects, merely stops noise increasing even higher.

This means the only actual mitigation is the noise insulation plan, which isn't adequate either.

Firstly it only helps six per cent of the 46,000 people affected - and then only when they are indoors.

Secondly there is little evidence that insulation reduces the health effects of noise - a point actually made in the report.

So how can it be described as 'adequate mitigation'?

The implication is that either the application should be refused or we need additional mitigation.

Other UK airports have restrictions on passenger numbers or flights, but for some reason this isn't considered acceptable for Southampton.

If the extension is to be permitted so more types of aircraft can use the runway, but passengers numbers were capped at 2019 levels (2 million), the airport wouldn't go out of business and local people wouldn't be exposed to so much extra noise either.

Due to economies of scale, the difference in benefits to the economy between two and three million passengers would small.

Angela Cotton