Group launches legal challenge over Southampton Airport runway extension

The GoFundMe campaign is aimed at seeking a review into Eastleigh Borough Council’s approval for the plans 

A campaign against the expansion of Southampton Airport has raised more than £6000 towards its legal challenge over the extension of the gateway's runway. 

The council issued formal planning permission on June 3 for the site to lengthen its runway by 164m (538ft). The Airport Expansion Opposition (AXO), however, believes the extension should be independently reviewed because increased aircraft noise would be heard outside of Eastleigh.  

Southampton Airport
Photo Geograph/Richard Cooke

“This decision, taken by a local planning authority, impacts thousands of people living outside of their boundary who will experience an increase in noise,” said AXO. “Further, the expansion in aviation will have far reaching consequences to the climate - affecting the lives of millions of people worldwide.” 

The campaign group added: “The airport has greatly overstated the economic benefits of expansion, which will adversely affect the quality of lives of around 46,000 residents, whilst hugely underplaying the environmental impact.” 

The airport says it is “extremely disappointed” by AXO’s response, but hopes to get started on the project as soon as possible. An extension would enable larger aircraft to operate from Southampton, generating an extra £240m for the local economy by 2037. 

Steve Szalay, Southampton Airport’s operations director, said: “The challenge from the opposition group may potentially add further delay to not only the project but also the creation of over 250 jobs as part of the construction phase. We are resolutely committed to these runway extension plans and the 2,500 jobs it will protect and enable. 

“We are wholly committed to working with the wider aviation industry to tackle climate change through new technologies and the introduction of new, more sustainable fuel, however we appreciate that there isn’t an overnight solution.”