Southampton Airport extension objectors to crowdfund legal challenge

Council say they are "confident that both the way the decision was taken and the arguments to justify it are sound"


pic. William Cho/pixabay

Opponents of the planned expansion of Southampton Airport are crowdfunding a legal challenge after Eastleigh Borough Council issued planning permission for the proposed runway extension before the Secretary of State had come to a decision on whether or not there should be a full public inquiry.

The campaigners have instructed a legal team led by law firm Leigh Day and David Wolfe QC to pursue the case, and are launching a public appeal for money to help finance the action.

Explaining the move, John Lauwerys, a spokesman for the group said:

“We believe strongly that 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, which will adversely affect the quality of lives of around 46,000 residents, whilst hugely underplaying the environmental impact. We are calling for the decision to undergo independent scrutiny.

“We know we have widespread support in the community, and urge those who agree with us to contribute to our fighting fund.”

Eastleigh Borough Council approved the runway extension last month after overruling a vote by its local area committee to reject it. On June 3 it then gave formal grant of consent  despite the fact that 24 hours, earlier a spokesman for the minister told Eastleigh News reporter Marlon Ayling-Allen that he had yet to come to a decision.

Responding to the news an Eastleigh Borough Council spokesperson told Eastleigh News in an emailed statement

“In considering Southampton International Airport Ltd’s application to extend its runway, Councillors considered a large number of representations from a wide range of stakeholders, as well as examining extensive evidence. Our planning and legal officers ensured that the decision was taken in line with relevant legislation and planning policy frameworks. We are therefore confident that both the way in which the decision was taken, and the arguments to justify it, are sound.”