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Support has grown among MPs for the expansion of Heathrow and the building of a new runway, according to a new poll for the airport.
The first survey of MPs’ opinion since the publication of the Airports Commission report which recommended the expansion of Heathrow found cross-party support for the move.
It found 65% of MPs back the expansion of Heathrow, compared to 53% who support the growth of Gatwick.
Among Conservatives, there was a 68% backing for expanding Heathrow, with 66% of Labour MPs supporting expansion, the Telegraph reported.
The findings show a significant rise in support since a poll of MPs taken in 2014 found six out of 10 backed the building of a new runway.
An overwhelming number of Parliamentarians – nine out of 10 – accept the need for an expansion in airport capacity in the southeast of England.
But only a third of MPs say that expansion should take place at Gatwick, which is campaigning to be allowed to build a second runway.
According to the ComRes poll of 150 MPs, commissioned by Heathrow, there is more support for expansion of the west London hub among than for both High Speed 2 (HS2) and Gatwick expansion, which came last in a list of six infrastructure projects backed.
Crossrail 2 topped the list, followed by Hinckley Point power station.
Nearly 85% of MPs agree ‘an additional runway in the southeast is necessary for the UK to remain competitive as a centre for international business.’
Heathrow said that while the survey showed that a second Gatwick runway maintains support, particularly among London MPs, a third runway at Heathrow has more consistent support and more support overall – particularly amongst English MPs outside of London.
Among northern MPs 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.
Heathrow maintains that with expansion, it can be “the best connected airport in the world and the most environmentally responsible”.
Chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, 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.”
A Gatwick spokesman said: “Britain has a clear choice on airport expansion: get on with growth at Gatwick or yet more delays and inertia with an illegal Heathrow scheme that continues to stall.
“For the first time there is a real alternative, Gatwick expansion is deliverable within 10 years of a decision and would provide the country the economic benefit it needs at a dramatically lower environmental cost.”
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