Heathrow debate splits opinion

heathrow terminal 2A survey of opinion on the Heathrow expansion issue conducted by Lookwest reveals a split of opinion even among the professional economic development community.

While a vast majority of Lookwest readers agree expansion of south east aviation capacity is important for the London and UK economy, they are divided on how this should best be achieved.

Just under half think expansion at Heathrow is the best option – the most popular choice. They are motivated by fears of the economic fallout, with one participant saying: “If the UK chooses to build another hub airport, the Government will need to force Heathrow’s closure. This will have a devastating effect on the west London and wider Thames Valley/Surrey/Oxfordshire economy – many of these jobs cannot and will not relocate.”

Under a third think a Thames Estuary aiport is the best answer, with other opinions involving expansion at other airports in the South East – Gatwick, Stansted or even Manston.

When the opinions of only the West London residents among the survey sample are taken, there is a more even split, with 40% favouring each of the estuary proposal and Heathrow, with the other 20% wanting to see capacity expanded away from West London.

At the same time as our survey results came out,  Wandsworth Council said that far from allowing expansion at Heathrow, the capacity should be further constrained. They say that not only should there be no third or fourth runway or any allowed increases in capacity beyond the current annual limit of 480,000 movements, or mixed mode usage of runways, but there should be a progressive reduction and ultimate elimination of night flights.

The issue is sure to surface at Place West London, the sub-regional economic development summit which takes place tomorrow. Speakers include the Mayor of London’s aviation adviser, Daniel Moylan, Lord Clive Soley, and leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia as well as transport minister Stephen Hammond MP.

What most seem agreed on is that the issue needs a speedy resolution. Boris Johnson has threatened a judicial review of the decision to publish the Davies review as late as 2015, while business groups and the 2M group via Wandsworth Council have all called for the decision to be taken now.

This is perhaps best summed up by one respondent to our survey, who’s plea, directed at PM David Cameron, urges him to : “Just man up and get on with it!!!”

Our survey is still open – add your opinions now.

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  1. Pingback: London Assembly opens airport capacity investigation | lookwestlondon

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