Gatwick Airport is seeking to brand itself as the people’s choice for the location of Britain’s next runway, as it published three YouGov polls in support of its expansion campaign.
The West Sussex airport claims three YouGov polls – of Londoners; people living near Gatwick; and residents in Heathrow’s surrounding boroughs – show it is a clear favourite with the public. But its rival, Heathrow, immediately hit back, claiming that its own YouGov surveys show it has the edge in the eyes of the general public.
Both Heathrow and Gatwick are upping the ante in the increasingly bitter battle to persuade the Airports Commission that they should be awarded the right to build the next runway in the London area.
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the commission, will begin a public consultation this autumn based on an appraisal of three options, which were short-listed late last year. These include two options for runway expansion at Heathrow, plus Gatwick’s second runway proposals.
YouGov surveyed more than 1,000 Londoners at the start of September and asked them, in a straight choice between Heathrow and Gatwick, which one would they choose, if the airport that is not expanded stayed the same size. Out of 1,037 adults polled, 46pc responded Gatwick, 35pc Heathrow and 18pc said they were not sure.
The same question was asked of 1,008 residents spread across Hounslow, Spelthorne, Richmond, Kingston, Ealing, Hillingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead – all in the vicinity of Heathrow – and 51pc responded in favour of Gatwick. Two fifths supported Heathrow and 9pc said they were not sure. Slough, which borders Heathrow and is perceived as the most supportive of the airport’s controversial third runway campaign, was omitted. People questioned in areas close to Gatwick, including Croydon, Crawley and Reigate, were in favour of their local airport being expanded. Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said the results showed the airport’s second runway campaign is “gaining momentum”.
He added: “Aviation is changing fast and there is increasingly recognition that expansion at Gatwick is best suited to current market trends and can deliver the economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost we can afford.” However Heathrow released some statistics from YouGov research conducted in the middle of August showing that out of 3,728 UK residents polled, 52pc favoured its third runway campaign, compared to 28pc who believed Gatwick was the best location for expansion. A smaller sample of Londoners – 653 – were also asked which location would be their first choice for expansion and 44pc replied Heathrow, 34pc Gatwick and 22pc the Isle of Grain, Boris Johnson’s preferred choice which was ruled out by the Airports Commission earlier this month.
A Heathrow spokesman said: “Our polling shows clear support for expanding Heathrow. But that doesn’t mean we are opposed to a second runway at Gatwick. Londoners need more of the long-haul business flights to destinations like China that Heathrow provides and in future will also need more short-haul flights to European destinations that airports like Gatwick and Stansted provide. There’s no need to force people to choose between one or the other.”
Gatwick pointed out that its YouGov survey was conducted after the Isle of Grain was rejected by the commission, suggesting supporters of that project had switched allegiances to Gatwick. Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, will on Thursday appeal to American businesses to intervene in the UK’s aviation capacity debate. Heathrow has 228 flights a day crossing the Atlantic and the airport believes that, with a third runway, it can generate a further 10 routes to the world’s biggest economy.
Mr Holland-Kaye will point out that many American travellers use Heathrow as a hub to connect to flights to Asia. “If you value the regular direct flights to North America and believe we need to do more to connect London to the mega-cities of tomorrow, we need your help to make the case,” Mr Holland-Kaye will say at an event organised by the British-American Business group.
Some of the comments below the Telegraph article:
Why all the moaning, the public want to go on holiday the public must have what they want it’s the way of the world, sardines packed into the roads airports, trains, the ever increasing population must get what it wants, build more airports roads the population if this country will be 75 million by 2030 mainly immigrants so who cares, country is the most densely populated in Europe what do you expect.
Public’s choice…? Not if you’ve ever stayed in a farmhouse near Edenbridge under one of its flight paths, it isn’t. Terribly badly located for a major airport.
Having spent around an hour and a half in various traffic jams around M23 and M25 junction over last weekend it is obvious to any sane person that neither Heathrow nor Gatwick should expand. I live not far from Gatwick and there is a huge problem with noise in the area already. Most local people do not want Gatwick to expand and have far more sense than to take any notice at all of the Gatwick public relations machine. I have not met anyone yet living locally who supports another runway at Gatwick.
Love it. People living near HR want Gatwick to grow and no doubt people living near Gatwick want HR to grow. Bottom line is anyone who makes money out of air travel wants growth and get a meaningful say but the rest of us who have to suffer the noise, air pollution and road traffic density increase near airports want it to shrink but don’t get a binding vote. — Gatwick’s recent consultation exercise initially didn’t include a non of the above box for the various runway options. If this represents a known example of naked gerrymandering, how many unknown examples riddle this survey? Greed makes for thieves, knaves and bare faced liars and there are non greedier than the sort of private equity chancers that own Gatwick. .
Gatwick’s consultation shows some 85% of respondents oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway
Gatwick Airport held a consultation over April and May 2014, to try to get backing for its plans for a 2nd runway, and the option the airport wants – the wide spaced option with the runway used for both arrivals and departures. This has always been what the airport wanted, and the proposal the Airports Commission short listed. The consultation gave two options, that the airport did not want and has no interest in. The consultation also initially had no means for any respondent to express their opposition to any new Gatwick runway, but eventually a “none of these options” box was added – difficult to locate, far into the document. The survey results are now out. They are deeply irritating to the airport, as they show huge opposition to any runway. Of about 7,700 respondents, well over 80% said NO. Of the 7,700 or so, only 733 backed Option 3 ( the runway option Gatwick wants) and 2,165 did not want a runway at all. 4,003 responses came through the Woodland Trust and these are being discounted, unjustifiably, as though part of an e-campaign, many contained specific comments made by the respondents. Taking all the responses for no runway, they amount to some 85% of the total. Even discounting the Woodland Trust responses, 66% opposed a new runway.
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and the discredited Heathrow survey recently:
Heathrow claim 60% of MPs back 3rd runway. Survey actually reveals it was only 55 MPs out of 95 interviewed. Not 650.
Heathrow airport has commissioned a survey by highly respected polling company, Ipsos Mori. They wanted to see how many MPs back a 3rd Heathrow runway. There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons. Heathrow is proudly claiming that “58% of MPs back a third runway at Heathrow”. So that means the survey found that 390 MPs thought that ? Really? Amazing! But that is NOT the case at all. The Ipsos Mori survey only in fact interviewed 95 MPs. They say they interviewed 143, but then cut the number back to 95. These were, in theory, “interviewed to closely represent the profile of the House of Commons” – quite how is not explained. What the survey actually found was that just 55 MPs (58% of 95 MPs) said they backed a 3rd Heathrow runway. And when only these 55 MPs – not the whole 95 – were asked if they thought a 3rd Heathrow runway would get parliamentary approval, only 44 thought it was likely (of these only 18 thought it was very likely). This really is taking liberties with polling. Heathrow’s rather extravagantly claim that the poll “explodes the myth that Heathrow is politically undeliverable” looks frankly threadbare … and a bit desperate?
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