Heathrow has released new ComRes polling today showing the new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that Conservative Councillors from across the country believe that the new Government should make a decision on aviation capacity in the South East as soon as possible, and that building a third runway at Heathrow should take priority over other major infrastructure projects including a second runway at Gatwick, HS2 and Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
Last week, say Heathrow, a YouGov poll showed that 74% of Conservative Party members now support a third runway at Heathrow.
Commenting on the ComRes poll of 313 Conservative Councillors, Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said: “This poll gives our new Prime Minister and Transport Secretary more confidence to back Heathrow knowing that grassroots Conservatives are behind them. A groundswell of Conservative Councillors, members and MPs from across the UK agree that a global, outward looking trading nation like ours needs Heathrow expansion now more than ever. Heathrow is the UK’s largest port, sustains global trade routes for British exporters and our ability to access new markets relies on expansion.
“I am confident the Prime Minister and Transport Secretary will listen to the voices of our supporters, see the very clear recommendation from the Airports Commission, and make the right choice for a stronger economy, and that’s Heathrow.”
When asked in the research to pick one of six major infrastructure projects tested, Conservative councillors were most likely to say that the next Government should prioritise Heathrow expansion (33%). Only 13% said the same of a second runway at Gatwick. In addition, the vast majority (75%) of Conservative Councillors say that now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, it is most in the national interest to make a decision on airport expansion in the South East as soon as possible. Only 14% say it is most in the national interest to wait.
John Holland-Kaye added: “At a time of economic uncertainty, Heathrow expansion is a ready to go infrastructure project that will inject £16bn of private sector money into the UK economy. Expansion would create up to 180,000 jobs and up to £211bn in economic benefit.”
New transport secretary Chris Grayling said in a BBC radio interview that he wanted to reach a quick decision on where a new runway should be built.
Mr Grayling said: “I am very clear that I want to move rapidly with a decision on what happens on airport capacity.”