Our planet is on the brink of being irreparably damaged. The climate emergency is real and our planet is heating to unsustainable levels. We are witnessing a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, the air we breathe is toxic, and our oceans are full of plastics.
But the world is waking up, inspired by activist Greta Thunberg, schoolchildren across the globe are walking out of school and demanding urgent climate action. This is both inspiring, but deeply worrying. These children are scared for their future and the world has a duty to do something to reassure them.
There is always a balance between trying to save the planet while keeping our local economy strong. However, in the case of Southampton Airport’s proposed runway expansion, I am really struggling to see how I can ever justify so many extra tonnes of unnecessary carbon use in my constituency.
The Liberal Democrats are the only one of the three largest parties committed to building a brighter future by dealing with the environmental crises. One of their policies is to ensure there is no net increase in runways and to reform airline taxation for international flights to target the most frequent flyers. And I fully support that.
But I am also well aware that Southampton airport is a significant local employer and is popular locally. I also recognise that it does engage with the local community and has worked with the council to improve aircraft routing to reduce noise issues. It is also trying really hard to reduce its own carbon footprint.
But surely more European business meetings could take place by video conference? European holidays could make a train journey part of the experience?
In this country we desperately need to improve our public transport . More investment in rail is needed, for passengers and for freight. We also need lower prices in those rail routes so they are more competitive with domestic flights.
Therefore, after much deliberation, I know I must be true to my principles and object to Southampton Airport’s runway extension.