Twice as many London councillors back Gatwick expansion over either Heathrow option – new polling

17 March 2015

New polling released today shows that twice as many London councillors back a new runway at Gatwick over either option for Heathrow expansion.

The new YouGov polling and other new details released today show the wide range of business and political audiences across the capital that back Gatwick expansion.

The polling follow comments made last week by two prominent London MPs and Cabinet Ministers (Justine Greening and Vince Cable) as well as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, all opposing a Heathrow third runway and appearing to open the door to Gatwick expansion. The latest support also follows five new guarantees the Gatwick Board have made to Government and the Airports Commission on the airport’s expansion plans.

The London political and business audiences that back Gatwick include:

LONDON COUNCILLORS – the majority of London councillors back Gatwick

  • In new YouGov polling*, a representative sample of 206 London councillors gave their views on airport expansion
  • 40% picked Gatwick expansion which is twice the amount that picked the option of a Heathrow third runway (21%) or a Heathrow extended northern runway (13%)
  • Even when figures for both Heathrow options are combined, the YouGov polling shows London councillor support for Gatwick outstrips Heathrow by 40% to 34%

LONDON BOROUGH COUNCILS - no London council backs Heathrow expansion

  • Gatwick has carried out separate research into which Borough Councils have formally responded to the Airports Commission or taken a public position on airport expansion
  • The research has shown that of the 32 London borough councils, not a single one has formally or publically backed Heathrow expansion (see Notes to Editors for further details)

LONDON BUSINESSES & ENTREPRENEURS – key business groups back Gatwick

  • A series of Business Improvement Districts (business-led groups in key parts of the Capital) have backed Gatwick including Victoria BID, Streatham BID and Croydon BID
  • 19 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, including key London-based entrepreneurs, have supported Gatwick in an open letter to the Airports Commission (see Notes to Editors)

LONDON POLITICIANS - key politicians in the Capital back Gatwick

Key figures at different levels of London politics have outlined their support for Gatwick:

  • Mary Macleod MP: “There are fundamental points in this debate that have not and will not change. Heathrow expansion is as politically undeliverable as it has always been and there is certainly no change in the views of west London residents who say they don’t want more noise or traffic. The game changer in this debate is Gatwick - we now have an alternative option that will introduce greater competition and is cheaper, simpler and politically deliverable. We need to expand our aviation capacity and it is clear that Gatwick is best placed to deliver the UK’s new runway.”
  • Southwark Council leader Peter John: “Other parts of the capital have benefited in recent years from huge investment - now it is South London’s turn. Gatwick expansion would be a huge boost to the massive regeneration already underway across the borough, bringing in new jobs, new infrastructure and world-class transport links. Gatwick is the capital’s best and only chance to capture the huge benefits of airport expansion without the noise and disruption of thousands more planes over London.”
  • London Assembly Member Steve O'Connell: “London and the UK desperately need new airport capacity and it is becoming clear that Gatwick is the best placed to deliver what is needed. Gatwick can deliver a new runway more quickly, with huge economic benefits but less environmental impacts than the other plans put forward. Crucially an expanded Gatwick can be delivered without taxpayers’ money so everyday passengers would see the benefits of a new runway without being hit in the pocket.”

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “From the public to politicians, businesses to borough councils, it is clear the capital backs Gatwick over Heathrow in the expansion debate.

“Airport expansion is a huge opportunity to boost the economy and global connectivity of London but also presents a clear threat of more noise and pollution above the capital. Striking a balance is crucial and that is why London is throwing its support behind Gatwick.

Where Heathrow expansion means 130,000 more planes over Central London and further breaches of air quality, Gatwick would have a fraction of the impact, delivering the economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost it can afford.”

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