“Let Britain Fly” start petition to get the public to lobby their MPs to back runway building

Jumping on the back of the Thames Estuary airport media bandwagon, Let Britain Fly have launched their public pledge campaign to give the “silent majority” they claim are apparently in support of airport expansion a voice in the run up to the 2015 election. They have put out a public pledge that they want “thousands of people” to sign, asking for more runways and more airport capacity, so everyone can continue to go on lots of holidays, by plane. They are asking that all the political parties commit to build more runway capacity in their 2015 election manifestos. They are also asking that there is a Parliamentary vote on airport expansion in 2016, at the latest.  Let Britain Fly has obtained statements in support of its claims from various business people, such as the MD of Harrods (which naturally gets a lot of high spending tourists), and Mace (a construction company – no vested interest there). Lots on the mantra of “jobs and growth.”  Let Britain Fly and their backers appear oblivious to the fact that the Airports Commission is only considering one runway at most, not runways. They also ignore the inconvenient fact that most air travel is for leisure, and only a small proportion could be deemed to be boosting business links.


Let Britain Fly say:

It’s time to Let Britain Fly.

Before the next general election we urge the three main party leaders to immediately acknowledge the need for more air capacity, commit to finding a cross-party solution to modernise our airport infrastructure; and in their manifestos commit to be guided by what the Airports Commission recommends for the long-term; pledging to maintain, protect and enhance Britain’s status as a global aviation hub.



2.9.2014  (Press Release by pressure lobby “Let Britain Fly”)

Leaders of some of Britain’s biggest firms have made an appeal to the public, calling on
them to sign a pledge demanding politicians back new runways in London and the South

A recent survey by the Office of National Statistics showed a majority (59%) of the British
public support the construction of new runways, and the Let Britain Fly Pledge, which was
launched today, aims to give this “silent majority” a voice in the national debate.  

[Note: what  Let Britain Fly is quoting is an ONS survey, which shows on Page 9 which shows 59% agree (45% not strongly) that: “People should be allowed to travel by plane as much as they want to, even if new terminals or runways are needed to meet demand.”  The same chart shows that only 28% agree that: “People should be allowed to travel by plane as much as they want to, even if it harms the environment.”  70% disagreed, 9% strongly.  Of the 28% who agreed, only 3% agreed strongly.  The exact question details, phrasing etc, are not known.  See graphic from ONS survey below.  AirportWatch].

ONS attitudes to environment damage and flying 2014



Let Britain Fly press release (cont):

The business leaders, including the heads of Harrods, international manufacturer Kesslers, construction giant Mace, property firm SEGRO, and global law firm Linklaters, urged the British public to speak out on the issue, which they say is crucial to supporting future jobs and growth in the UK.

The Let Britain Fly Pledge aims to put pressure on the leaders of the UK’s political parties,
calling on them to:

1. Make a public pledge to build more runway capacity and commit to this in their 2015
election manifestos
2. Ensure a Parliamentary vote on airports expansion in 2016 at the latest.
Using email and social media in the run-up to the election, the campaign aims to engage
hundreds of thousands of people across the country ahead of the release of the Airports
Commission’s final recommendations next summer.

In the coming months the campaign will also criss-cross the country, staging a roadshow of events in, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Liverpool and will have a high-profile presence at the forthcoming party political conferences in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Gavin Hayes, Director, Let Britain Fly, said:
“It’s not just a short-list of options we need, but the political will to do something – without
cross party commitment none of these proposals will get past the drawing board, that’s why we are urging the public to speak out on the need for vital new runways.

“Often in the public debate on airports expansion we hear loudly the concerns of those
people who are against; Let Britain Fly now wants to create the space and opportunity for
the ‘silent majority’ of people who are in favour of expansion to also have their say.

“The evidence suggests that a majority supports airports expansion, and understands the
need to support jobs and growth across the country. Today we are giving them a chance to
speak out on this important issue by signing the Let Britain Fly Pledge and demonstrating to politicians that voters think this issue is of national importance.”

Michael Ward, Managing Director of Harrods, said:
“Harrods attracts visitors from around the world. But changes in the global economy mean
we need to reach out to new markets which complement our existing links. That’s why we
have been vocal in the debate over airport expansion.

“But this is not a decision for British business. The Government should be listening to the
public, and the evidence suggests that a silent majority support airport expansion. We urge
those people to ensure their voice is heard on this vital issue and sign the Let Britain Fly

George Kessler, Director of Kesslers International, said:
“My competitors in Germany, France and Holland have a huge advantage in being able to
get to China (where face to face contact is an essential part of doing business) at short
notice and more easily than I. (sic)  In addition they suffer from fewer delays. The issues with second rate air connectivity are stymying the growth potential of our economy. The need for new runways is urgent and our politicians need to show clear leadership on this issue and not hide behind the genuine difficulties of making a decision.

“The British public need to take their opportunity to have their say on this issue which will
seriously affect the availability of employment and jobs for both them and their children.”

Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace, said:
“If the UK and particularly London is to meet our growth challenges and remain a leading
world city, our airports must have the capacity to meet these demands. The construction
industry has the capacity to deliver infrastructure projects much quicker. Together with
government assistance, and the airport owners and operators, we can meet the demands
ahead of the current envisaged schedule and stimulate the economy by increasing
employment and investment in to the UK.”

David Sleath, Chief Executive Officer, SEGRO, said:
“Global connectivity is vital to the success of the British economy. Many of our customers
operate internationally, moving people and products around the world by air. That is why we
urgently need politicians to deliver new runways [Note: they never say one runway, which is what the Commission is looking at. There is no question, for decades, of more than one runway]  to allow businesses to directly access new and emerging overseas markets.

“With better international connectivity, the UK will attract further investment that will
safeguard and create new jobs. Additional runway capacity really matters, because
fundamentally it’s about UK jobs and economic prosperity. [Note: these comments disregard the inconvenient fact that most air travel is for leisure purposes, and expansion will be used for increasing numbers of cheap holidays]. 

“In the run-up to the election more people should join with us in speaking out and ensuring
their voice is heard.”

Robert Elliott, Chairman and Senior Partner, Linklaters, said:
“Britain has been a powerhouse of global trade for centuries, not least due to the UK’s
connectivity with international business and financial centres. Global firms such as Linklaters which serve clients throughout the world benefit from good airport connections, and these play a key role in helping to maintain London’s status as arguably the world’s leading legal centre

“As other countries continue to build major airport hubs, competition for London is
intensifying, underscoring the pressing need for a comprehensive and actionable UK
aviation strategy to assure the UK’s future competitiveness within the global economy. With
airport capacity saturation just around the corner now is the time to seek the widest possible input and make decisions built on the widest possible consensus.”

GAVIN HAYES – 07900 195591
– Text of the Let Britain Fly Pledge (also available at  letbritainfly.com):

“Let Britain Fly is campaigning for politicians of all parties to make a public commitment to build vital new runways.  For years, politicians have failed to make a decision, leaving British businesses and passengers grounded, while other countries are taking off.
A positive, bold decision to build more runways would support British trade and tourism, giving everyone the opportunity to travel the world, whilst generating future jobs and growth.

The leaders of the UK’s main political parties must:
1.Make a public pledge to build more runway capacity and commit to this in their 2015 election manifestos
2. Ensure a parliamentary vote on airports expansion in 2016 at the latest.

I call on my Member of Parliament to sign this Pledge and to ask Ministers to do the same.”


– Let Britain Fly is an independent campaign coalition whose founding statement has already attracted support from more than 100 senior business leaders from Britain’s top companies, trade and professional associations, unions and educational institutions, along with organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, London First, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Hospitality Association.

– ‘Public experiences of and attitudes towards air travel 2014’ taken from the Office for National Statistics ‘Opinions and Lifestyle Survey’ can be downloaded in full from: