Last week Heathrow Airport claimed that there was more support now for a 3rd runway than when it was proposed by the last Labour Government.
It cited a recent opinion poll of more than 1,000 local residents by Populus which showed 48% are in favour of a third runway while 34% oppose. http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf
The reality is different. HACAN unearthed a Populus poll which revealed that in 2007 50% supported a 3rd runway and 30% were against. http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/download_pdf-170907-BAA-Heathrow-Future-Heathrow-Poll.pdf
In fact, as we blogged last week, a third of people stubbornly refuse to back expansion at Heathrow. Although some of the other figures fluctuate, the common thread in the Populus polls is the 30% or so of people who oppose expansion.
Here are the last three polls:
Heathrow Airport must be concerned that after more than a year of concerted, expensive and high-profile campaigning support for a third runway is little different than it was at the height of the protest six or seven years ago.
And, indeed, the referenda and surveys that were carried out by Hillingdon, Richmond and Hounslow show even less support for expansion. Around 72% of residents opposed a 3rdrunway: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/100000_say_no_to_heathrow_expansion
There has been no UKIP-style surge in support for a 3rd runway.
Heathrow have only one year in which to change this. The airport will be acutely aware that they lost the battle for a 3rd runway last time around. They lost because the residents who opposed expansion in the 7 boroughs closest to the airport (over 525,000 people in total) were able to forge an effective alliance with residents further afield, environmentalists, politicians from across the political spectrum as well as some key business people and trade unions.
Heathrow Airport will know that, unless they can shift opinion in the next year, the odds against a third runway being built will lengthen…….whatever recommendation the Airports Commission comes up with in summer 2015.
March 2014 poll
November 2013 poll
May 3013 poll
Populus surveys done for Heathrow show only 48% back its expansion (26% back it strongly, 23% oppose it strongly)
April 30, 2014 To quote Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” And so it is when opinion polls are done, and the organisation that commissions the poll wants a particular result out of it. Heathrow often gets Populus to ask people in boroughs near Heathrow what they think. They usually ask similar questions each time. One asks “Taking everything you know into account, do you currently support or oppose expanding Heathrow?” Over all boroughs surveyed, 26% strongly supported this; 22% somewhat supported; 11% somewhat opposed; 23% strongly opposed. See link So 48% support, and 34% oppose, with 18% neither supporting nor opposing. The figures were broadly the same a year earlier (with 46% supporting, but 43% opposing, and 10% neither supporting nor opposing). Heathrow says this is large, and growing, support. It is difficult to interpret the figures, as Populus only publishes a small bit of its results, with no methodology, such as the script of the interviewer, tone of the questions etc. Questions need to be asked about what information is given to people by Populus before they are asked their views. Click here to view full story…