SIR: Our national and local governments have made Climate Emergency Declarations; the UK has signed up to the Paris Agreement and yet our local politicians continue to support expansion of airports and limitless growth in the number of flights and passengers.

Only recently Steve Brine MP told a virtual lobby of constituents asking for a Green Recovery, that it is “not possible to stop people flying” and that we should pin our hopes on techno-fixes rather than a reduction in flying.

Eastleigh Borough Council - the council whose strapline for years has been ‘Tackling Climate Change’ - has yet to oppose the expansion of Southampton Airport. Neighbouring councils, Southampton and Winchester, have both raised concerns over noise and air pollution.

A recent report from the Committee on Climate Change said that, unchecked, aviation would be the UK’s biggest emitter by 2050. It also highlighted another important issue: British people take more international flights than any other nationality, despite having less than 1 per cent of the world population. We also know that 70 per cent of flights in this country are taken by 15 per cent of people making support for this industry a subsidy for the well-off.

It is not possible to maintain growth in flying and be carbon neutral. It is absolutely essential that flying be substantially reduced. This means an end to airport expansion, an end to aviation fuel subsidies, a ban on internal flights where there is a rail alternative, introduction of a frequent flyer levy, government support for rail and ferries and a public education campaign to clarify the dangers to the planet of flying.

The aviation industry’s narrative of growth and reduced emissions is simply false. The only certain way to reduce emissions now is to reduce flying. It is up to our local and national politicians to step up and make the bold decisions needed to meet the challenges of the Climate Emergency. We must oppose the expansion of Eastleigh Airport and all reduce flying.

Sarah Gooding,

Fordington Avenue,