CAMPAIGNERS have renewed their attack on plans to extend Southampton Airport’s runway following the government’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

Ministers have accepted the advice of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which published its much-anticipated Sixth Carbon Budget at the end of last year.

For the first time climate law will be extended to cover international aviation.

The CCC has called for no net rise in airport capacity, saying any increase in one part of the UK will need to be offset by restrictions elsewhere.

Plans to extend the runway at Southampton Airport have been approved by Eastleigh Borough Council but objectors have asked the government to “call in” the decision.

The AXO Southampton campaign group has welcomed the UK’s latest commitment to tackling climate exchange.

In a statement it said: “The government has accepted that aviation should be included in a new tougher target, which would involve a 78% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 from their 1990 levels.

“The committee has also recommended a stop to all airport expansion in the UK.”

AXO member Lyn Brayshaw added: “There can now be no possible justification for the expansion of Southampton Airport if the government is serious about its new policy of reducing carbon emissions.

“We and several other groups have asked the Secretary of State to call in the planning application, and it is now clear that this is the only credible way forward.

“We are confident that the proposals would be thrown out if they came before an independent planning inspector.”

Steve Szalay, operations director at Southampton Airport, said: “We welcome the government’s new targets.

“Southampton Airport, along with the wider aviation industry, is serious about tackling climate change through the embrace of new technologies and the introduction of new, more sustainable fuels.

“Southampton Airport has received planning approval for a runway extension, not an airport expansion.

“The airport has written to the Secretary of State, asking him to respect the decision made by Eastleigh Borough Council and to allow our runway application to proceed as planned.

“We’re disappointed an attempt is being made to delay the application as the region badly needs the job security and job creation this project will deliver.”