A South East Essex Green Party (SEEGP) member has claimed that a proposed expansion for Southend Airport is not sustainable, and will impact negatively on the area.
James Vessey-Miller, a spokesperson for the environmentally friendly party, also said that an expansion to the airport would not be environmentally responsible.
James said: “An expansion will lead to an increase in traffic, an increase in air pollution and noise.
“It won’t benefit Southend in any way.
“All of our transport infrastructure are already struggling, all of our railway lines are heavily struggling with the amount of people commuting to and from London into the area, and so more passengers just adds further strain.
“We do not believe this is sustainable, we do not think it is environmentally responsible, and it’s going to seriously impact the people of Southend in really bad ways.”
The airport have submitted planning applications to Rochford District Council to extend the northern end of the terminal, as well as the southern end to allow upgrading to the baggage reclaim, sortation and screening systems, in order for it to meet new aviation regulations.
The airport insists that both of the proposed extensions are single storey and have been designed to keep within the existing terminal building without changing it too drastically.
In addition, Stobart Air, the owners of Southend Airport, also announced that they hope to welcome five million passengers a year by 2022, an increase of around four million from 2016.
Glyn Jones, chief executive of the airport, said: “We currently serve over one million passengers a year and more and more people are realising that London Southend offers them a better way to travel.
“This development is all about ensuring we maintain the highest levels of customer experience and ensuring we are able to comply with new regulations.
“The airport was designed to deliver the best possible passenger experience; this extension ensures that we can continue doing just that as we grow.”
However, the SEEGP are worried that the area would simply be unable to cope with an expansion.
James added: “As a party, we believe that the airport expansion is not required and negates any responsibility we have environmentally in this country, especially after our signing of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The area does not have the capacity to be able to expand, especially not to five million passengers, it just cannot happen.”
A Facebook group was launched in support of the planned expansion, called “Say YES to Southend Airport Expansion”, which currently has over 1,200 members.
One member, Julie Lewington, a former cabin hostess at the airport, said: “It will be good as it will bring in more local trade and business, and expand on all those things.
“If we don’t expand the airport, it will probably be shut at some point and it will just be developed into housing and industrial estates, all of which we don’t need.
“Why oppose something that can only be good for the area?”
The airport launched new routes to Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Malta in October, with Sion starting at the beginning of December, and Antwerp to begin in 2018.
Julie added: “The expansion brings in more jobs, more revenue, so many more opportunities for other things.
“We have the new (train) station here, we have a new hotel here now, and there are more places to go on holiday now!”
If application is approved by the council, work is expected to get underway at the start of 2018 in order to be completed before the summer holidays.