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Call to put airport plan on hold

Airport campaign group AXO Southampton has joined fifteen other national and community groups in writing to the government calling for all airport expansion in the UK to be put on hold.

The letter specifically asks Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to call in the planning application for the extension of the runway at Southampton which Eastleigh Borough Council recommended for permission last month.

Seven UK airports including Southampton have applications for expansion at various stages in the planning process. Local groups opposing these developments have come together with the Aviation Environment Federation to seek a moratorium on any physical increase in airport capacity while the government prepares its policy on Net Zero Aviation.

Richard Mould-Ryan, from AXO, said: “We welcome the government’s decision to include international aviation emissions in future carbon budgets. 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.

“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. Failing to call in the application would mean that this decision and others like it could make it impossible for the government to meet its legally binding target in the Climate Change Act.”

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