Southampton City Council held a Special Meeting on Tuesday (28/1) to decide whether it would object to Southampton Airport’s expansion application. The panel members voted in favour of objecting to the application made to Eastleigh Borough Council, with noise and environmental concerns cited as key reasons.
The Airport Expansion Opposition Southampton group spoke at the meeting, raising points about the economy, air quality, health and climate crisis, amongst others. The campaign’s speakers included Green Party representative Katherine Barbour, residents Angela Cotton and Gareth Narbed who addressed councillors at the previous Council Meeting, as well as University of Southampton Professor Felix Eigenbrod.
Southampton Airport’s Managing Director, Neil Garwood, said that the airport would clarify the points raised by various members of the meeting. However, one member stated that the application ‘raised more questions than it answered’. Many spectators in the gallery laughed when Mr Garwood said ‘the aviation industry is on the cusp of a green revolution’.
Conservative council member for Bitterne Park ward, Cllr David Fuller, made a speech on behalf of constituents opposing the expansion on the grounds of noise levels and other factors. He stated:
If you’re living under the flight path in some of these [affected]areas and you’re having to stop talking every five or six minutes because a plane is going over in the summer, what sort of quality of life is that?
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Christopher Hammond, outlined the Labour Group’s position opposing the expansion prior to the meeting.
The Chair of the meeting, Cllr John Savage, asked the Health Officer if the effects of increased noise on children attending Bitterne Park School was considered, however the Officer stated that such a level of detail regarding the effect of noise on students was beyond their scope.
This evening @SouthamptonCC Council members voted to object the @SOU_Airport expansion application to @EastleighBC with 4 votes in favour and no votes against.
The @axosoton campaign say its “a small step for the planet and a big step for Southampton” ✈️🌲❌
— Kendall Field-Pellow (@KendallField99) January 28, 2020
Four members of the panel voted in favour of the amended objection while none voted against. There were three abstentions. According to the votes of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel, the City Council will state its objection as a consultee to Eastleigh Borough Council, who are due to decide the outcome of the planning application in the near future.
After the meeting AXO Southampton made the following press release:
We are very encouraged that Southampton City Council have come to this decision with no votes against. It shows just how compelling the case against expanding Southampton Airport is. We hope that Eastleigh will take this on board and that our Government takes climate change and building a green economy seriously.
One of the campaigners, Gareth Narbed, was very pleased with the result, saying, ‘it was a bit touch and go towards the end, it was actually quite a dramatic conclusion,‘ going on to say, ‘I’m really pleased for Southampton as a city and feel civic pride that nobody voted against [the objection]’.