Populus polling released by Heathrow suggests support for the airport’s expansion plans remains strong in local communities, with over half of residents in the 12 constituencies closest to Heathrow supporting its expansion, and almost 60% feeling positive about the airport overall.
In total, over 10,000 residents from the constituencies of Spelthorne, Brentford & Isleworth, Feltham & Heston, Windsor, Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Slough, Hayes & Harlington, Beaconsfield, Ealing North, Ealing Southall, Richmond Park and Twickenham were interviewed for the poll.
This airport point to this as a continuing indicator of support, following recent polling which showed that 62% of MPs support Heathrow expansion. MPs publicly supporting Heathrow expansion include Fiona Mactaggart and Virendra Sharma, whose Slough and Ealing Southall constituencies are the strongest supporters of expansion – 64% of their residents supporting Heathrow’s plans.
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, recently announced his support for expansion in recognition of the changes the airport has made in its expansion plans to address local impacts. This is a change in position for Mr Sharma who, in 2009, quit his Government position as Parliamentary Private Secretary in opposition to the airport’s previous plans for expansion.
This is the first local poll conducted since Heathrow said it would meet, and in most cases exceed, the Airports Commission’s environmental conditions for its expansion. Amongst Heathrow’s commitments are an extension of a legally binding ban on scheduled night flights, and the establishment of an Education and Skills Taskforce to develop local talent.
Nigel Milton, Director of External Affairs at Heathrow Airport said: “After the previous proposal was rejected, we went back to the drawing board to design a new expansion plan that balances the economic benefits of expansion with its environmental impact. As a result, Heathrow expansion is no longer a choice between the environment or the economy – our plans will benefit both. This polling shows that a majority of our neighbours recognise that a third runway will create tens of thousands of local jobs, ending youth unemployment in the communities closest to the airport as well as reducing noise impacts and meeting air quality rules.
“Heathrow’s new expansion plan and the fact it is supported by a majority of people living near the airport gives the Prime Minister the confidence to make the right choice for a stronger British economy and approve Heathrow expansion.”