Ipsos Mori poll across UK shows 33% don’t want airport capacity increased (60% do). Only 13.2% want Heathrow runway.

The Evening Standard commissioned a poll by Ipsos Mori, of attitudes to a new runway – or a new airport. It was a telephone poll, of 1,026 adults across the UK, between 18th and 20th July. It found that 60% thought there should be some airport capacity expansion. 33% though there should be no expansion (and 7% did not know). Of the 60% in favour, 44% (ie. 26% of the total) either wanted a new airport or expansion of an airport other than Heathrow or Gatwick. Only 22% of those wanting expansion wanted a Heathrow runway (ie. 13.2% of the total sample) and only 24% (ie. 14.4% of the total sample) wanted a Gatwick runway. Those figures really are very small. Asking the whole sample, including those who did not think airport expansion was needed, what were the most important issues the Government should consider on where a runway should be built, the very highest number said “impact on the natural environment” (39%) and the second highest was “noise created for local residents” (30%). Other issues like total costs, support of local residents, local air quality and traffic congestion were all important (about 11 – 15%). The message being taken from the poll is not only that backing for a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick is very small, and there is no consensus, but also that there is more backing for a new airport elsewhere – or expanding another airport (regional?)


Only 13.2% of the total backed a Heathrow runway, and only 14.4% of the total backed a Gatwick runway. 33% of the total said UK airport capacity should not be increased.

More Brits want new airport, not Heathrow or Gatwick expansion – new poll

27.7.2015 (Evening Standard)

By Nicholas Cecil

More Britons support building a new airport to meet the country’s aviation needs than favour expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick, a poll shows.

The new findings, in an Ipsos MORI survey for the Standard, will revive the debate about Boris Johnson’s proposals for a Thames Estuary airport, just as the Government appears set to back a third runway at Heathrow.

Thirty per cent of those who believe the UK needs more aviation capacity favoured an entirely new site, compared to 24 per cent who backed a second runway at Gatwick and 22 per cent who preferred a bigger Heathrow.

A third of all respondents said they did not believe Britain’s airport capacity should be increased.

By far the biggest concern over expansion was the impact on the natural environment. Thirty-nine per cent named this as one of the most important issues the Government should consider when deciding on where to locate a new runway.

How much noise such a development would create for local residents was cited by 30 per cent. This was double the figure for generating jobs and economic growth.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “Most Britons want our airport capacity increased, but there is no clear consensus on the best solution.

“At the moment, though, the public’s view is dominated by issues of environmental impact and noise rather than jobs or cost.”

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, has recommended a third runway at Heathrow,  rather than expanding Gatwick, having earlier dismissed the proposal for a “Boris island” airport in the estuary.

Sir Howard — the new Royal Bank of Scotland chairman — concluded that the economic benefits of a bigger Heathrow outweighed the environmental impacts, when compared to a second runway at Gatwick. But critics argue that Heathrow cannot expand while also meeting EU air pollution limits, and say this part of the commission’s report is flawed.

The commission concluded a third runway could be built and operated provided it did not delay London complying with the EU air quality rules. As long as one area of the capital had even more filthy air than Heathrow, then another runway could not be blamed for a delay, it argued.

But this stance could be challenged in court, and the Government has been warned of the risks of pressing ahead with Heathrow expansion on the basis of the commission’s conclusions on air quality.

“People are quite rightly aghast at the environmentally catastrophic expansion of Heathrow, and realise that increasing capacity at Gatwick will fail to deliver the long-term capacity and economic benefit that we need,” said Daniel Moylan, the Mayor of London’s chief adviser on aviation.

The Government has pledged to make a decision on airport expansion by the end of the year.

Heathrow’s case appeared to have been bolstered last week, after it emerged that Mr Cameron had set up a committee to decide on the issue which did not include five Cabinet ministers who have previously voiced opposition to a third runway.

Downing Street said the committee’s make-up followed usual procedures, with ministers included from the departments with the greatest policy interest.





Table from Ipsos Mori, with additional notes by AirportWatch

Ipsos Mori runway survey 2



The Ipsos Mori summary of their report:

Most Britons believe airport capacity should be increased

Ipsos MORI Political Monitor July 2015



Field work  18th to 20th July 2015

Public say the impact on natural environment and noise are the key considerations for airport expansion

The majority of Britons believe that the country’s airport capacity should be increased, according to the latest Ipsos MORI Political Monitor. Six in 10 (60%) say it should be increased with one in three (33%) disagreeing. Men, Conservative supporters, private sector workers, those in the South and the middle classes are most likely to support further expansion.

Support for increasing airport capacity

Among those who think that Britain’s airport capacity should be increased, three in 10 (30%) say a new airport should be built. Another 24% say that Gatwick Airport should be expanded with a second runway and a further 22% prefer a third runway at Heathrow. Fourteen per cent say an airport other than Heathrow or Gatwick should be expanded (with Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted amongst those mentioned).

which one of the following do you think is the best way of increasing Britain’s airport capacity?

Two in five (39%) say that Government should take into account the impact on the natural environment as an important consideration when deciding where a runway should be built. Three in ten (30%) say noise pollution should be a key factor, followed by generating jobs and growth and support from local residents (both 15%).

Considerations for new runway

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

“Most Britons want our airport capacity increased, but there is no clear consensus on the best solution – remembering that this poll covered the whole country, not just London and the South East. At the moment, the public’s view is dominated by concerns about environmental impact and noise rather than jobs or cost.”

Technical Note
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,026 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 18-20 July 2015. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.