UK public want new airport

Top concern about airport expansion is the impact on noise and air pollution.

More British people say airport capacity should be expanded and that should mean a new airport.

The Ipsos MORI poll for the London Evening Standard shows that 60% support increasing airport capacity.

The poll shows that the public want that expansion to be a new airport. The 2nd choice is a new runway at Gatwick.

A 3rd runway at Heathrow is 3rd choice.

The figure supporting Heathrow is a mere 15% of all those polled.

Among those who think that Britain’s airport capacity should be increased, three in 10 (30%) say a new airport should be built. Another 24% say that Gatwick Airport should be expanded with a second runway and a further 22% prefer a third runway at Heathrow. Fourteen per cent say an airport other than Heathrow or Gatwick should be expanded (with Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted amongst those mentioned).

The other key finding is that the British people say that the top concern about airport expansion is the impact on the environment and noise.

The results show that the British public opinion has a very different opinion to the Airports Commission.

The Commission recently ruled out a new airport and a new runway at Gatwick but gave the nod to a 3rd runway at Heathrow.

The Commission based its findings almost entirely on what it says are the economic benefits of expanding Heathrow. It says these benefits outweigh the huge environmental damage that a 3rd runway at Heathrow will cause.

Men, Conservative supporters, private sector workers, those in the South and the middle classes are most likely to support further expansion.

Ipsos MORI asked UK adults these three questions. 

Some people say that Britain’s airport capacity should be increased in the next few years by either building a new airport or expanding existing airports. Other people think it should not be increased in the next few years. Do you think Britain’s airport capacity should or should not be increased?

Britain’s airport capacity should be increased 60%
Britain’s airport capacity should not be increased 33%
Don’t know 7%

Base: 1,026 British adults 18+

And which one of the following do you think is the best way of increasing Britain’s airport capacity?

A new airport should be built 30%
Gatwick should be expanded by building a 2nd runway 24%
Heathrow should be expanded by building a 3rd runway 22%
None of these options 1%
other 3%
Don’t know 7%

Base: All saying airport capacity should be increased (635)

When deciding where a new runway should be built, what, if any, are the most important issues the government should consider? What else?

Impact on the natural environment 39%
How much noise it creates for local residents 30%
Support from local residents 15%
Generating jobs and growth in the economy 15%
How much pollution it causes 12%
Costs of construction 12%
Impact on traffic congestion 11%
Disruption while it is being built 9%
Local residents/the local community/local area 8%
Avoiding built-up areas 8%
Being close to a big city 7%
Transport infrastructure 7%
Meeting the needs of businesses 5%
Accessibility 5%
I don’t think a new runway should be built 5%
Don’t know 11%

Base: 1,026 British adults 18+.

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Ipsos MORI poll