A Populus poll demonstrated that support for Heathrow expansion remains strong in communities surrounding the airport, with more local residents continuing to be in favour of the project than opposed. The polling results were published at the close of Heathrow’s largest public consultation on expansion yet, where the airport’s preferred plans for expansion were revealed and open for further scrutiny over a 12-week period.
Results released by Heathrow show that local support for expansion remains high, with more local residents supporting the project than opposing, in 16 of the 18 Parliamentary constituencies closest to the airport – including in the Prime Minister’s own constituency, Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
Regular polling since 2015 has consistently shown that the project has local support, with new figures maintaining this sentiment since Parliament (including a majority of local MPs) voted in favour of the project last year. Heathrow expansion is expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships for local people, with potential to end youth unemployment in local boroughs. The once in a generation project will also inject billions of economic benefits into local communities whilst ensuring that expansion is delivered in line with strict mitigation and environmental commitments.
The polling results came as Heathrow’s statutory Airport Expansion Consultation closed last week. The 12-week consultation has been Heathrow’s largest and most innovative consultative exercise to date, holding over 40 local events supported by an extensive publicity campaign encouraging 2.6 million households in the footprint of the airport, to have their say on the airport’s proposals.
In total, 13,501 residents from the constituencies of Maidenhead, Spelthorne, Brentford & Isleworth, Feltham & Heston, Windsor, Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Slough, Esher & Walton, Hayes & Harlington, Beaconsfield, Ealing Central & Acton, Ealing North, Ealing Southall, Chelsea & Fulham, Hammersmith, Runnymede & Weybridge, Richmond Park and Twickenham were interviewed for the poll.
Following the close of the consultation, Heathrow will analyse the feedback and use it to shape its final plans for expansion. The airport will then submit this as part of its application to the Planning Inspectorate in 2020, kickstarting the approvals process. The decision on whether to grant the DCO will be made by the Secretary of State for Transport following a public examination period led by the Planning Inspectorate.
Emma Gilthorpe, Executive Director of Heathrow Expansion said: 'It is great to see that local support for expansion continues to remain high. Thousands of local people recognise the benefits this project will bring, including new jobs, apprenticeships, improved green space, better transport networks and enhanced environmental mitigation programmes.
'The local community will continue to play a pivotal role in helping us to shape and improve our plans, so that we can deliver an expanded Heathrow we can all be proud of.'