Published on : Monday, January 4, 2016
The first polling to be released since the Government’s response to the Airport’s Commission report confirms that support for Heathrow expansion unites MPs across the political divide, with two thirds of Conservative and Labour MPs backing it (68% and 66%) and MP’s being almost twice as likely to say they strongly support a third runway at Heathrow than a second at Gatwick (30% v’s 16%).
According to polling by ComRes, Heathrow expansion has more support from MPs than both High Speed 2 (HS2) and Gatwick expansion, which came last in a list of six infrastructure projects backed by MPs. Crossrail 2 topped the list, followed by Hinckley Point power station.
The need for additional airport capacity in the south east is in no doubt, 9 in 10 MPs believe more capacity is necessary. 84% believe ‘an additional runway in the south east is necessary for the UK to remain competitive as a centre for international business.’ Whilst the survey shows that a second Gatwick maintains support, particularly amongst London MPs, a third runway at Heathrow has more consistent support and more support overall particularly amongst English MPs outside of London. This is especially apparent in the North, where support for a second runway at Gatwick (32%) is less than half of that of a third runway at Heathrow (76%).
The majority of MPs also disagreed that an additional runway would prevent the UK from meeting its emissions targets; a view echoed by the Government’s Airports Commission, which confirmed a third runway at Heathrow can go ahead without breaching environmental legal limits, as long as Heathrow continues to implement its mitigation plans. With expansion, Heathrow can be the best connected airport in the world and the most environmentally responsible.
Earlier this year the Government’s Airports Commission made a unanimous recommendation for Heathrow expansion after it was asked by the Government to investigate how to keep the UK as a hub for aviation.