Londoners favour Gatwick expansion, claims YouGov study

Londoners favour Gatwick expansion, claims YouGov study

Gatwick has emerged as the favoured airport for expansion over rival Heathrow in a poll of people living in the capital.

Almost half of Londoners (46%) want Gatwick to build a new runway, rather than Heathrow (35%), according to the YouGov study for the West Sussex airport of more than 1,000 people.

A question on households affected most by airport expansion receiving financial compensation generated the biggest response, with 82% saying this was important.

Gatwick has pledged to pay the yearly council tax of those most impacted by noise if it expands, something it says it can afford as it would affect 5% of the population number impacted by Heathrow expansion.

More than seven in ten (71%) of those surveyed also said that changes to the M25 that could cause major disruption was an important issue in the runway debate.

Similarly, 72% said the introduction of a congestion charge to drop off or pick up people by car was important.

Gatwick has published a paper claiming that expanding Heathrow will create “months of chaos and years of congestion” due to the need to tunnel the M25, widen the M4 and introduce a congestion charge.

YouGov also asked Londoners which airport was best in terms of nine key indicators, with Gatwick coming top in eight, including: 

  • How quickly a new runway could be delivered
  • Negative impact on quality of life for local residents
  • Built at lowest cost to taxpayers
  • Air traffic over London
  • Encouraging vigorous competition between airlines and airports
  • Certainty the new runway can be delivered
  • Impact on natural environment
  • Regeneration benefits to local area

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “As we near the election, Londoners have made their views clear and chosen Gatwick as their preferred location for a new runway.

“This survey also highlights the issues that Londoners think are important in this debate, with financial compensation for residents most impacted a top concern.

“We agree, which is why we will pay the council tax of residents most affected, something Heathrow can’t begin to do as noise would impact almost 20 times as many homes if it expands.”

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