Southampton Airport expansion

A statement from Extinction Rebellion Winchester regarding Eastleigh Borough Council's decision to allow Southampton Airport expansion.

We are dismayed by the vote to expand Southampton airport. Last night councillors voted 22 - 13 in favour of extending the airports runway to allow larger aircraft access. 

This decision was made in the face of a multitude of facts that this will be detrimental to the health of residents in Eastleigh, Winchester and Southampton. This is not to mention the catastrophic and accelerating impact decisions like this have on climate change. 

By their actions, many local politicians, businesses and organisations have shown their true colours when it comes to the climate emergency we all face, and to local resident’s health and well-being. 

On the issue of the local impact, the facts are indisputable.  As a result of the expansion, 46,000 people will be subjected to levels of noise considered by the World Health Organisation to be bad for physical and mental health. 

The airport's expansion plans have had significant opposition, not just from environmental campaigners but from residents. Our own campaign generated over 3000 emails to Eastleigh councillors from local residents concerned about a range of issues from noise pollution affecting their elderly relatives, climate change affecting the future of their children and the value of house prices, amongst other things. 

Yet again many of our local elected officials have abdicated their responsibility to do the right thing, but we are hopeful that this decision will be paused by the government in the same way that Leeds Bradford Airport and the Cumbrian coal mine have been.

In the week that Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said that Lib Dem-run councils have “always made the environment a top priority" this vote has proven that this in fact not the case and that the Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted to show vision and look after our best interests. 

A move to an environmentally sustainable future becomes more needed with each passing day, and we will continue to fight for our collective future.

The evidence is clear, we are in a climate emergency and we must act like it. In 2008 Eastleigh Borough Council was awarded Beacon Status for its efforts to tackle climate change, however, it seems that 2021 is the year that light went out.

Key References

  1. World Health Organisation report on noise levels and heath.

  2. High pollution reducing house prices 15pc buyers reject ‘unhealthy’ homes

  3. English local elections: Ed Davey urges local funds for green projects

  1. Plans for expansion of Leeds Bradford airport put on hold

  2. Government intervenes in plan for Cumbria coal mine after climate backlash