A poll commissioned by Heathrow Airport shows MPs across the two main parties are generally in support of expansion at the airport.
68% of Conservative MPs and 66% of Labour MPs surveyed back expansion at Heathrow, while 9 in 10 MPs say more airport expansion is needed in the south east.
What Heathrow describe as the first polling to be released since the Government’s response to the Airport’s Commission report says that support for Heathrow expansion is similar in both main parties. It also says that MP’s are almost twice as likely to say they strongly support a third runway at Heathrow than a second at Gatwick (30% v’s 16%).
According to the polling by ComRes, Heathrow expansion has more support from MPs than both High Speed 2 (HS2) and Gatwick expansion, which came last in a list of six infrastructure projects backed by MPs. Crossrail 2 topped the list, followed by Hinckley Point power station.
The need for additional airport capacity in the south east is in no doubt, 9 in 10 MPs believe more capacity is necessary. 84% believe “an additional runway in the south east is necessary for the UK to remain competitive as a centre for international business.”
While the survey shows that a second Gatwick maintains support, particularly among London MPs, a third runway at Heathrow has more consistent support and more support overall particularly among English MPs outside of London. This is especially apparent in the North, where support for a second runway at Gatwick (32%) is less than half of that of a third runway at Heathrow (76%).
The majority of MPs also disagreed that an additional runway would prevent the UK from meeting its emissions targets; a view echoed by the Government’s Airports Commission, which said that a third runway at Heathrow can go ahead without breaching environmental legal limits, as long as Heathrow continues to implement its mitigation plans.
John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, said: “Heathrow expansion has backing across the UK from business groups, trade unions and exporters across the breadth of the UK because it is the only way to connect the nation to the fastest growing economies in the world.
“Expansion will allow Heathrow to be the best connected airport in the world, as well as the most environmentally responsible. As we move in to a new year, this latest polling demonstrates we have majority support from MPs and confirms the breadth of support for Heathrow expansion across the political divide.”