Majority of London councillors back Gatwick expansion, reveals poll

Majority of London councillors back Gatwick expansion, reveals poll

Gatwick has emerged as the favoured option for expansion over rival Heathrow in a poll of London councillors.

A total of 62% of the capital’s councillors came out in support of Gatwick expansion compared to 38% for Heathrow.

The YouGov survey of 239 councillors in the capital was commissioned by Gatwick ahead of the London mayoral election on May 5.  

The negative impact on the quality of life for local residents - noise and air pollution - was singled out as the most important issue in the expansion debate.

However, councillors thought that Heathrow was best for the economic benefit to UK with 46% choosing the west London hub and 28% Gatwick.

In a separate YouGov poll, 44% of London residents said they wanted Gatwick expanded, with 35% choosing Heathrow.

Councillors were asked for their views in seven areas central to the debate, with Gatwick ahead in six:

  • Negative impacts on local residents: Gatwick 58%/ Heathrow 14%
  • Built at lowest cost to taxpayer: Gatwick 47%/ Heathrow 20%
  • Competition between airports and airlines:Gatwick 49%/ Heathrow 22%
  • How quickly runway can be delivered: Gatwick 47%/ Heathrow 23%
  • Regeneration of local area: Gatwick 43%/ Heathrow 25%
  • Certainty of delivery: Gatwick 42%/ Heathrow 25% 

Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “After decades of delay, Londoners recognise that Gatwick expansion can actually happen and that it is time to finally close the book on Heathrow’s plans. The UK cannot afford years of more delay so let’s get on and build a new runway for Britain at the only airport that can deliver it.

“Air quality is a crucial issue for London so it is no surprise to see continued strong support for Gatwick expansion and real concern around Heathrow’s impact.”

The government is due to make a decision on a new runway for southeast England this summer after it was delayed from December. The Airports Commission last summer backed Heathrow for expansion.


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