Gatwick claims support for 2nd runway – but does not reveal necessary methodological detail about its polls
Gatwick Airport has had two surveys done, to try to show there is support for their runway. One is of councils in London. Gatwick knows almost every council, except East Sussex, in its area has voted to oppose a 2nd runway. So Gatwick has been asking London councils instead, in the hope of better results. Many London councils know the highly negative impacts Heathrow, and its flight noise, cause for their residents, and therefore are opposed to any more. Some have said they back a Gatwick runway (believing, questionably, that there must be a new runway somewhere) in order to save their residents more problems. Some London councils hope Gatwick could provide jobs for their workers. The second survey is of residents in Kent and in West Sussex, and again, Gatwick claims significant support for their runway, compared to Heathrow. However,Gatwick does not publicise any of the actual data of their surveys. That is very significant, because without knowing the questions asked, the script leading up to the questions, and the options given, the results are almost meaningless. Their earlier consultation, in spring 2014, contained (till forced to add another option) no means of saying “No” to either options, but just various shades of “Yes.” Who knows whether these surveys contained the appropriate alternative response options?
This is the Gatwick press release. Read critically – testing the logic of each statement !
[AirportWatch comments in red].
TWICE AS MANY LONDON COUNCILLORS BACK GATWICK EXPANSION OVER EITHER HEATHROW OPTION – NEW POLLING
17th March 2015 (Gatwick airport press release)
- Gatwick CEO: “From the public to politicians, businesses to borough councils, it is clear the capital backs Gatwick” [Not a justifiable statement]
- New poll shows political support for Gatwick while further research shows no London council has backed Heathrow expansion
- Key London politicians and business groups outline their support for Gatwick [Some do, but not all – groups like London First]
New polling released today [but it is not released – it is not available to the public] shows that twice as many London councillors back a new runway at Gatwick over either option for Heathrow expansion. [Note – Gatwick does not dare to ask local councils, as they know their opinion is so strongly against a Gatwick runway]
The new YouGov polling and other new details released today show the wide range of business and political audiences across the capital that back Gatwick expansion. [Just as an equally large range do not ….]
The polling follow comments made last week by two prominent London MPs and Cabinet Ministers (Justine Greening and Vince Cable) as well as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, all opposing a Heathrow third runway and appearing to open the door to Gatwick expansion. [The Lib Dem official position is no new runway at Gatwick either. See link]
The latest support also follows five new guarantees the Gatwick Board have made to Government and the Airports Commission on the airport’s expansion plans. [These guarantees are paper thin – like depending on a non-existent contract with the governent that no other runways can be built for 30 years. They are also likely to be difficult to enforce on new airport owners. See link ]
The London political and business audiences that back Gatwick include:
LONDON COUNCILLORS – THE MAJORITY OF LONDON COUNCILLORS BACK GATWICK
- In new YouGov polling*, [the poll is not published so details cannot be seen] a representative sample of 206 London councillors gave their views on airport expansion. [What was the question? How was it worded? What script led up to it? What were the options? All vital in interpreting the data. Not given here]
- 40% picked Gatwick expansion which is twice the amount that picked the option of a Heathrow third runway (21%) or a Heathrow extended northern runway (13%)
- Even when figures for both Heathrow options are combined, the YouGov polling shows London councillor support for Gatwick outstrips Heathrow by 40% to 34%
[The reason is that London councillors for any borough affected by Heathrow know just how deeply unpopular Heathrow aircraft noise is with residents. They do not want any more of it. Boroughs close to Heathrow also know just how great the impacts are, on surface access, air quality etc etc, as well as noise. Local London councils know their residents – except those who depend on Heathrow economically – are strongly opposed to worseining local conditions. And a 2nd Gatwick runway would make the airport comparable to Heathrow today].
LONDON BOROUGH COUNCILS – NO LONDON COUNCIL BACKS HEATHROW EXPANSION
- Gatwick has carried out separate research into which Borough Councils have formally responded to the Airports Commission or taken a public position on airport expansion
- The research has shown that of the 32 London borough councils, not a single one has formally or publically [sic] backed Heathrow expansion (see Notes to Editors for further details) [See above for reason]
LONDON BUSINESSES & ENTREPRENEURS – KEY BUSINESS GROUPS BACK GATWICK
- A series of Business Improvement Districts (business-led groups in key parts of the Capital) have backed Gatwick including Victoria BID, Streatham BID and Croydon BID [These areas hope Gatwick will provide jobs for their residents. That means yet more journeys to and from the airport, on already highly stretched surface access – road and rail. Many of the jobs would be low-paid, non-career jobs.].
- 19 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, including key London-based entrepreneurs, have supported Gatwick in an open letter to the Airports Commission (see Notes to Editors)
LONDON POLITICIANS – KEY POLITICIANS IN THE CAPITAL BACK GATWICK
Key figures at different levels of London politics have outlined their support for Gatwick:
- Mary Macleod MP: “There are fundamental points in this debate that have not and will not change. Heathrow expansion is as politically undeliverable as it has always been and there is certainly no change in the views of west London residents who say they don’t want more noise or traffic. The game changer in this debate is Gatwick – we now have an alternative option that will introduce greater competition and is cheaper, simpler and politically deliverable. We need to expand our aviation capacity and it is clear that Gatwick is best placed to deliver the UK’s new runway.”
- Southwark Council leader Peter John: “Other parts of the capital have benefited in recent years from huge investment – now it is South London’s turn. Gatwick expansion would be a huge boost to the massive regeneration already underway across the borough, bringing in new jobs, new infrastructure and world-class transport links. Gatwick is the capital’s best and only chance to capture the huge benefits of airport expansion without the noise and disruption of thousands more planes over London.”
- London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell: “London and the UK desperately need new airport capacity and it is becoming clear that Gatwick is the best placed to deliver what is needed. Gatwick can deliver a new runway more quickly, with huge economic benefits but less environmental impacts than the other plans put forward. Crucially an expanded Gatwick can be delivered without taxpayers’ money so everyday passengers would see the benefits of a new runway without being hit in the pocket.”
[A lot of NIMBY statements, from people who understand that expanding Heathrow is politically difficult, as it is so very unpopular with residents affected by its environmental impacts. These politicians appear oblivious of the negative impacts a Gatwick runway would have on thousands of other people – just as long as their own residents are not affected. Socially not responsible].
GATWICK CEO STEWART WINGATE SAID:
“From the public to politicians, businesses to borough councils, it is clear the capital backs Gatwick over Heathrow in the expansion debate. [A highly dubious claim … very flimsy].
“Airport expansion is a huge opportunity to boost the economy and global connectivity of London but also presents a clear threat of more noise and pollution above the capital. Striking a balance is crucial and that is why London is throwing its support behind Gatwick.
“Where Heathrow expansion means 130,000 more planes over Central London and further breaches of air quality, Gatwick would have a fraction of the impact, delivering the economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost it can afford.”
[Gatwick’s runway would largely be for more, ever cheaper, leisure flights – of more people taking their holiday money to spend abroad. And an environmental cost that WHO can afford? Very odd statement]
Notes to Editors:
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. [not publicised] Total sample size was 206 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th and 23rd February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted [weighting is always a dodgy process, especially when the details are not published] and are representative of London Councillors by political party, council control, region and gender.
Further notes on London borough councils:
- Gatwick’s research has shown that 8 London borough councils have submitted responses to the Airports Commission either [odd wording] opposing Heathrow expansion or backing Gatwick expansion (Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, Southwark, Wandsworth)
- More than 15 London boroughs have also previously stated their opposition to Heathrow through membership of The 2M Group who oppose Heathrow expansion
Further notes Businesses and entrepreneurs
- Click here for the letter to the Airports Commission from 19 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs backing Gatwick expansion
- Signatories include the key London-based entrepreneurs John Stapleton (Co-founder New Covent Garden Soup); Emma Jones MBE (founder of Enterprise Nation); and Duncan Cheatle (founder of The Supper Club, a London based club for entrepreneurs) [Other business people want a Heathrow runway. See link]
Majority of Kent residents support the expansion of Gatwick airport, a recent study suggests
12 March 2015 (Kent Online)
by Mike Thompsett
A recent study shows that the majority of Kent residents are for the expansion of Gatwick airport, despite a number of past reports suggesting they oppose the idea.
The addition of another runway to the international airport has been subject to ongoing disputes, with KCC and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council being among a number authorities who oppose the idea.
Residents from West Kent had previously raised their concerns about living underneath busy airspace, as the introduction of another runway could see changes to flight paths.
However, the results of a study carried out by Gatwick airport shows that the majority of residents in the county support the development.
It shows there is a larger number of residents backing the new runway in all 13 districts, and all 17 parliamentary constituencies.
Those in districts in West Kent which previously raised their concerns, including Tonbridge and Malling, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells are said to have also voted for the idea of an expansion to the airport.
Over 2.5 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in the county – more than any area outside London.
The majority of residents surveyed also said Gatwick was the best choice for:
– How quickly a new runway could be delivered
– Negative impact on quality of life for local communities
– Lowest cost to the taxpayer
– Encouraging more competition between airport and airlines
– The certainty that new runway can be delivered
– Additional number of people affected by noise
Results showed that six out of ten people felt that a bigger Gatwick airport would be beneficial for local economy and the YouGov poll displayed that 47% of residents preferred the idea of an expansion, compared to 25% of votes going to Heathrow.
The results indicate that Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick in Medway, Swale, Ashford, Shepway and Dartford – the fastest growing district in the borough.
CEO for Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate said:
“Today’s results show that the majority of residents in all 13 districts of Kent, both young and old, think Gatwick should be expanded.
“We are also seeing increasing public, business and political support throughout the UK as momentum gathers behind Gatwick’s credible and compelling case for expansion.”
And another Gatwick poll – read critically, checking facts and logic !
Gatwick Airport says:
“MOST KENT & WEST SUSSEX RESIDENTS SAY GATWICK SHOULD BE EXPANDED”
12.3.2015 (Gatwick website)
- New polling shows majority of residents in all districts and all parliamentary constituencies in both counties say Gatwick should build a new runway
A majority of residents across both Kent and West Sussex say Gatwick should build a new runway rather than Heathrow, according to two separate YouGov polls released today. [They may be “released” but they are not published, so the public cannot check them]
Residents [unjustifably sweeping statement – they mean “some residents”] in all 20 local authority districts, and all-parliamentary constituencies across the two counties said a new runway should be built at Gatwick.
[Without know the questions, the script, the options given etc, the figures are pretty much meaningless].
The majority of people polled in Kent and West Sussex also felt that a bigger Gatwick is best for the local economy. The polling for the two counties is as follows:
- Almost twice as many Kent residents (47%) think Gatwick Airport should be expanded rather than Heathrow (25%) [But what was the wording of the question, and the lead up to it??]
- Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick in Medway (52% vs 24%), Swale (53% vs 19%), Ashford (50% vs 19%), Shepway (52% vs 25%) and Dartford (53% vs 26%) – the fastest growing district in the borough
- Residents also supported Gatwick expansion in all 17 parliamentary constituencies in the county
- 2.5 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in Kent – more than any area outside London
- A majority in every age group said they supported Gatwick expansion, as did 49% of men and 45% of women living in Kent
- More than six out of ten (62%) residents said expanding Gatwick was important for the local economy. [But what was the wording of the question?]
- More than half (52%) of West Sussex residents think that Gatwick Airport should be expanded, rather than Heathrow (31%)
- Gatwick was favoured in every district, with twice as many choosing Gatwick over Heathrow in Worthing (51% vs 23%), Arun (52% vs 26%), Adur (56% vs 28%) and Crawley (58% vs 30%) – the district closest to the airport
- Residents also supported Gatwick expansion in all seven parliamentary constituencies in the county
- 1.8 million of Gatwick’s passengers each year live in West Sussex – seven per cent of the airport’s total
- A majority in every age group asked also said they supported Gatwick expansion, as did 55% of men and 49% of women living in the county
- Seven out of ten (68%) residents said expanding Gatwick was important for the local economy with more than half (55%) saying it would be the best choice in terms of regenerating the local area
[In the earlier consultation that Gatwick carried out in spring of 2014, the wording was biased so there was no option to say “NO” – only different flavours of “Yes.” Without seeing the details of the survey, it is impossible to know the answer options, and hence to judge what the figures Gatwick has given actually mean. It is deeply unprofessional not to reveal details of the survey, if Gatwick wants people to believe its findings. The fact the survey has not been publicised presumably means it is not as glowing as Gatwick would like to make out. Even the dubious surveys done by Populus for Heathrow publish at least some of the actual result data].
STEWART WINGATE, GATWICK’S CEO SAID:
“Today’s results show that the majority of residents in all districts of Kent and West Sussex, both young and old, think Gatwick should be expanded.
“We are also seeing increasing public, business and political support throughout the UK as momentum gathers behind Gatwick’s credible and compelling case for expansion.
“This growing support demonstrates the recognition that a new runway at Gatwick would boost the UK economy at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow today.
“Expanding Gatwick can also be delivered at no cost to the taxpayer, whereas Heathrow would cost the public purse at least £6 billion at a time when public money is scarce.”
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. [Details not publicly available].
- West Sussex survey: Total sample size was 1,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 25th February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults (18+) living in West Sussex by local authority population, age, gender and social grade.
- Kent survey: Total sample size was 1,013 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 25th February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults (18+) living in Kent by local authority population, age, gender and social grade.
Councils around Gatwick opposed to a 2nd runway
Almost all the county, borough, district, town and parish councils around Gatwick have decided to oppose a second runway.
- Kent County Council has reversed its position, from support for a second Gatwick runway to opposition.
- After a long and passionate debate, West Sussex County Council councillors voted 37:26 to cancel their support in principle and to oppose a 2nd runway.
- Surrey County Council is sticking to its policy, agreed a few years ago, to oppose a second runway unless sufficient infrastructure improvements are made first.
- Crawley Borough Council, the planning authority for Gatwick, has voted 25:11 to oppose a second runway.
- Horsham District Council has voted 23:1 against.
- Mole Valley District Council has voted unanimously against.
- Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has voted 39:1 against.
- Tandridge District Council has sent in a response drawing attention to its core strategy to oppose any expansion of the airport which would adversely affect their residents.
- Mid Sussex District Council has strongly opposed a 2nd runway
- Wealden District Council has opposed a 2nd runway
- Reigate and Banstead Council is still making up its mind.
- Horley Town Council and virtually all the fifty or so parish councils around Gatwick have voted No to a runway
- The only odd one out is East Sussex County Council which voted 27:19 to support a 2nd runway. Most of the votes in favour came from councillors in seaside areas such as Hastings or Eastbourne who were enticed by the prospect of more jobs.
- None of the Members of Parliament around Gatwick support a 2nd runway. Eight out of nine MPs have declared their opposition. One (Henry Smith) says that Gatwick have not yet made a case for a new runway.