CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to extend the runway at Southampton Airport are celebrating a double boost.

Members of Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton (AXO) say their challenge to the granting of planning permission for the extension has passed legal and funding milestones.

An application for a judicial review has been submitted to the High Court - and half the money needed to fund the challenge has already been raised.

In a statement AXO said: "The legal action is being taken by GOESA Ltd, which has been set up for this purpose.

"It has also been used to engage the legal team who have wide experience of environmental cases, including the challenge to the third runway at Heathrow airport.

"AXO Southampton’s GoFundMe appeal has raised over £16,500 from several hundred donors, and there have been donations direct to GOESA Ltd totalling over £35,000."

Members of AXO gathered in Riverside Park, Southampton, to mark the progress of their campaign.

The popular city park is directly under the airport flight path and is affected by noise from planes landing and taking off.

AXO spokesman Richard Mould-Ryan:"The decision taken by Eastleigh Borough Council affects thousands of people living in Eastleigh but also outside of their boundary in Southampton and Winchester who will experience more noise, and it will have far reaching consequences for the climate, affecting the lives of people worldwide.

"We believe the council’s decision was wrong, both in the way it was taken and the arguments to justify it.

"The airport has greatly overstated the economic benefits of expansion, whilst hugely underplaying the environmental impact. Decisions such as these need full scrutiny and that can now only happen by Judicial Review."

Mr Mould-Ryan said AXO had received donations from more than 300 people in Eastleigh, Southampton and Winchester.

He added: "The legal team appointed by GOESA has a proven track record, and we’re confident that we will be granted permission for a full judicial review.

"We want to thank everyone who has donated so far, but further funding will be needed to meet the costs of that next stage.

"I would urge anyone in Southampton, Eastleigh, Winchester or further afield who will be affected by this development to make a donation, even if they can only afford £5.”

Southampton Airport bosses say plans to extend the runway are vo the future of the transport hub and its contribution to the local economy.