A PROTEST planned by Extinction Rebellion has prompted Southampton Airport to cancel an event over safety fears.

Extinction Rebellion Southampton was set to protest Southampton Airport's Woodland Walk, which was taking place today to mark World Environment Day.

The event has now been cancelled after the airport got word of the protest and staff were concerned over the number of people who might attend.

The event was due to take place today between 1pm and 2pm at the River Walk entrance to Marlhill Copse.

A spokesperson for the airport said: “To ensure the safety of the staff and local residents who were due to attend we reluctantly took the decision to cancel today’s Marlhill Copse woodland walk.

"Our people are in contact with those members of the public who signed up to attend this guided tour, which was arranged to highlight the work that has gone in to restoring this popular neighbouring greenspace.

“It is extremely regrettable that this community event won’t go ahead and we would like to apologise for the disruption caused, but the safety and well-being of those who were due to take part must be our main priority.”

The airport's operations director, Steve Szalay added: Steve Szalay: "From my perspective it was just a big unknown at 11am what was going to happen.

"We knew we had 25 numbers, we didn't know how many protestors there was going to be so there was all sorts of Covid angles there. It just seemed like the right thing to do to call it off.

"Having been here now and seen the protestors, I'm happy we can rearrange it for another day and we can welcome the protestors and factor them into the numbers with whatever Covid restrictions apply then.

"[The event] will happen again."