WINCHESTER MP Steve Brine has spoken in support of the expansion of Southampton Airport in a debate in the House of Commons.

The airport wants to expand the runway by 150m to allows it to take bigger aircraft, sparking a campaign by environmentalists to oppose the plan. It says the runway is vital to the airport's survival.

Mr Brine told the House last Thursday: "Many of my constituents rely on Southampton airport for their family income, and we have been decimated by the demise of Flybe. I know that he (Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes) is working so hard to get his local council to see some reality and not just be blinded by its ideology.

"The runway extension at Southampton international airport was already needed, but it is now actually needed to allow the airport to survive full stop."

Mr Brine said noise mitigation measures were important. "As a neighbouring MP, I represent the southern parishes in Winchester district, and we want to see a noise-preferred route, for which Southampton airport is responsible in its own airspace up to 5,000 metres. That was left out the last time the airport was expanded and had planning permission. I need Southampton airport to understand that I will support it, but it needs to support my constituents too."

Earlier Mr Holmes had said: "Talking about going greener, does my Hon. Friend and constituency neighbour (Mr Brine) know that Southampton airport, which is by our constituencies, needs to extend its runway to enable greener travel and stop constituents travelling to Gatwick and Heathrow. Will he encourage Eastleigh Borough Council to get on and decide? If not, it is time for the Government to issue a special development order to extend that runway."