Thousands of people mobilized to fight against Southampton Airport runway
OVER £ 60,000 has been raised to cover the cost of pursuing a judicial review of the Southampton Airport runway extension plans.
Activists say they have received donations from more than 400 people and say they are “on track” to meet their goal of £ 100,000.
It comes as plans to extend the 164m track were approved by Eastleigh Borough Council in April this year after hours of debate.
Airport bosses pointed out that 4,800 people had already written to support the plans.
But last month, activists formally filed an application with the High Court seeking judicial review.
The borough council had previously expressed confidence that its decision-making process was solid.
But activists have called for the decision to be subject to “independent review” and have launched a fundraising campaign to finance the court challenge.
Today, opposition to the Southampton Airport Extension (AXO) confirmed that the consortium fighting the runway extension project had raised more than £ 60,000 to cover the cost of pursuing a judicial review.
GOESA, which was set up by opponents of the plans, has informed law firm Leigh Day and will be represented by David Wolfe QC, the same team behind the recent attempt to have the Stonehenge tunnel declared illegal.
John Lauwerys, GOESA, said: “We have had a very enthusiastic response from the public, especially the residents of Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester who will be most affected by the expansion. We think we have a very strong case as Eastleigh’s decision was wrong in both the way it was made and the reasons for doing it. ”
He accused airport bosses of “failing to recognize” the environmental impact of increased passenger numbers and the impact of noise on local residents.
“The airport greatly overestimated the economic benefits of the expansion, while giving the impression that it would have to close if permission was denied, which it is not,” Lauwerys added.
Steve Szalay, director of operations at Southampton Airport, said the runway extension “will protect and create” 2,500 jobs and provide “significant economic and employment opportunities”.
He added: “We are extremely disappointed with their decision to take legal action, especially as nearly 4,800 residents of the region have written to express their support for the plans. Unfortunately, this legal challenge will delay the creation of much needed jobs. In light of the extensive review and public consultation undertaken by Eastleigh Borough Council, we are confident that the courts will support the council’s decision to approve the trail application.
Cllr Keith House, Head of Eastleigh Borough Council, said: “Opponents of the airport have every right to advance their objections through a legal challenge. The council will support his decision to put the airport back in working order and make it viable for the future. We believe there is no basis for the legal challenge and look forward to the court backing our decision and protecting local jobs, travelers and businesses. ”