A FINAL decision on plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport is to be taken this week.

On Thursday all councillors in Eastleigh will be asked to decide whether to approve or reject the proposals to expand the runway at Southampton Airport by 164m.

As reported, the plans proved to be controversial and were rejected by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee after an almost 17-hour long debate at the end of last month.

This means that the final decision will have to be taken by full council at Eastleigh Borough Council during a virtual meeting set to start at 2pm on April 8.

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On the one hand, airport bosses and the local business community said the move would boost the local economy and create new jobs.

On the other hand, hundreds of residents, campaigners and some local councils raised concerns over the impact the runway expansion would have on climate change, noise and pollution.

Those against the proposals urged councillors to refuse the scheme.

Lyn Brayshaw, from Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO), said: "It is about noise and pollution and about making a difference to the planet. We can't expect other people to deal with climate change. Everyone needs to do their bit."

Talking about the decision set to be taken this week she added: "This is a big step that can be taken in the right direction. The right direction would be to refuse it."

As reported, one of the main issues raised so far is the impact the runway expansion would have on noise.

It comes as it was revealed that if the plans are approved, the number of people affected by noise would go from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033.

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Planning officers in Eastleigh said mitigation measures would be put in place.

But campaigners hit back saying it would not be possible to implement mitigation measures outdoors.

Ms Brayshaw added: "We can't triple-glaze Lakeside Park and you can't triple-glaze a playground.It is not about the viability of the airport. Of course the airport is struggling, all businesses are, this is Covid. It is down to individuals to make our planet a better place."

Campaigners' comments come as airport bosses previously said the future of the airport would be hanging in the balance if the plans are refused.

A petition to support the proposals was launched at the end of last month.

But campaigners stressed that at the end of 2019 more than 1,900 people signed a petition against the scheme before it was discussed by civic chiefs in Southampton.

As reported, Southampton City Council objected to the proposed runway expansion on the grounds of climate change, noise and pollution.

Last  month members of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee refused the plans on the same grounds. As reported, the committee voted five to three in favour of refusing the plans.