A SOUTHAMPTON based campaign group has joined with national calls for all airport expansions to be put on hold.

Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO) in Southampton has joined with 15 other national and community groups to call for government to put all airport expansions on hold.

In a joint letter from the 16 groups, the organisations ask Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to call in the planning application at Southampton Airport.

Seven UK airport including Southampton have planning applications at various stages according to AXO.

Richard Mould-Ryan from AXO said: "The Climate Change Committee has said that to remain within them and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 will require limiting demand for flying, as well as measures such as introducing new aviation fuels, but these are still decades away from use at the scale needed to achieve significant emissions reductions.

"Enough airport capacity already exists to meet the level of demand which is compatible with the net zero target.”

Southampton Airport's application to extend its runway was approved at a full council meeting of Eastleigh Borough Council on April 10th.

Steve Szalay, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, said: “Southampton Airport received planning approval for a runway extension, not an airport expansion. In line with government policy, we are working to make the best use of our existing assets.

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

But Mr Mould-Ryan added: "Allowing Eastleigh Borough Council to grant permission for the expansion of Southampton Airport locally would prejudge the outcome of the government’s policy consultation on net zero aviation."

Steve Szalay continued: “We are disappointed that an attempt is being made to delay our runway application, as the region badly needs the job security and job creation this project will deliver, especially as we come out of this pandemic.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said the department has received a number of requests to call in the application "which will be considered in the usual way".

"If called in, the application would be considered at a public inquiry. If not called in, it would be returned to the council to decide.

"Because of the quasi-judicial nature of the planning process it would be inappropriate to comment further."