THE debate over what is expected to be the final decision over plans to expand the runway at Southampton  Airport will continue tonight.

The full council meeting at Eastleigh Borough Council will resume today at 6pm.

It comes as yesterday councillors discussed the proposals to expand the runway by 164m for more than ten hours before deciding to adjourn the meeting.

Councillors heard from those in favour and those against the proposals.

On the one hand, some residents asked councillors to refuse the plans on the grounds of climate change, noise and pollution.

On the other hand, the business community and other residents asked for the plans to be approved in a bid to create new jobs and support the local economy.

Councillors were also told that Southampton Airport is a lifeline for residents in the Channel Islands and provides essential links to Southampton General Hospital.

The meeting began with a debate on whether the decision should be deferred to later this year.

But the motion put forward by Cllr Gin Tidridge to defer the decision was blocked after 23 of the 36 councillors voted against it.

In the first hours of the debate councillors were told that the expansion would have an impact on noise and the environment but mitigation measures would be put in place.

They were also told that the move would create hundreds of jobs with the number of jobs at the site expected to go from 475 to 1,410 in 2037, if the plans are approved.

Among the concerns raised there was the impact the runway extension would have on noise.

It comes as it was previously revealed that about 46,000 people would be affected by noise if the plans are approved.

Resident Ron Meldrum said: “We know that noise would damage people's mental health. This is simply the wrong place for a major airport."

A representative of Extinction Rebellion Winchester added: “This is a hard decision and one that has huge consequences for everyone. Please today make a bold decision, a necessary decision and oppose this expansion."

Naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, was also among those who submitted an objection. He said: "We are faced with a decision. We can carry on as normal, except that normal won't last very long before it precipitates in a disaster or we can do something brave."

But other residents and representatives of local businesses backed the expansion and stressed it would be important for the local economy.

Ross McNally, chief executive at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We believe it is essential that the planning application is approved for the future of the airport. We recognise how vital it is that we are connected with our customers, suppliers and employees. We ask you to back local businesses, local communities and the potential of this economy.”

Caroline French, vice-chair of Go!Southampton, said “cleaner and quieter planes are on the horizon".

She supported the application and added: "The airport is crucial to our wider city's economy. Now it is the time for Southampton and Eastleigh to show their ambition."

The plans were also backed by Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes, who last month launched a petition that has been signed by 3,000 people.

He said: “Southampton Airport is absolutely vital to our economy. I strongly support this application and call on all councillors to make the right decision. Failure to do so, will be a disaster for our area. I hope councillors will support our airport and approve this application."

Managers at Southampton Airport were expected to speak last night but the timetable was amended and they will be the first to speak as the meeting resumes today.