HACAN Challenges 'Residents Back Heathrow' Poll

The new survey claims a majority favour a bigger Heathrow

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A group opposing airport expansion at Heathrow has challenged the findings of a new poll which says that almost half those in the boroughs closest to the airport favour expansion.

John Stewart of HACAN said the poll of 6,000 residents carried out by Populus, commissioned by the airport, was "out of kilter" with previous polls. Populus said its findings were that 46% of those polled support expanding Heathrow, compared to 43% who oppose expansion.

Heathrow Airport announced today (June 12) that it will provide seed funding for a new community campaign "to provide a voice for the thousands of local people who support Heathrow".  Plans for the campaign are in their early stages but it said it will seek to establish itself and start identifying and recruiting support before the end of the year.

The poll of 6,000 residents in Hounslow, Richmond, Hillingdon, Windsor and Spelthorne, found:

  • 60% of residents feel positive towards Heathrow compared to 6% who feel negatively
  • 66% say that the benefits of Heathrow outweigh the disadvantages for their community
  • 46% support expanding Heathrow, compared to 43% who oppose expansion

John Stewart of HACAN said: “This poll is out-of-kilter with previous surveys which have shown most residents are opposed to expansion.  But, even on the polls own findings, it is clear Heathrow would face significant opposition if it tried to build a third runway.”

Stewart added, “We take it as a compliment that Heathrow Airport wants to set up a residents group that supports expansion.  Our only piece of advice to them is to find a better name than the obscure one we are stuck with!”

The area with the most aircraft noise, Feltham and Heston, is the area which is most supportive of the airport expanding according to Populus. It said 51% of people in Feltham and Heston support expanding Heathrow compared to 39% who are opposed. 

Heathrow Director of Corporate Affairs, Clare Harbord said; “This research shows that most local residents back Heathrow. Anti-Heathrow campaigners claim that everyone living near Heathrow is opposed to the airport, but that simply isn’t true.

“The recent report by MPs on Parliament’s Transport Committee lays bare what the Mayor’s plans for a new airport would do to this region:  it says an estuary hub airport would require the closure of Heathrow – a course of action that would have unacceptable consequences for individuals, businesses in the vicinity of the existing airport and the local economy.

“We believe that local jobs and businesses are worth fighting for.  It’s time to give people who agree a voice in this debate.  It’s time to back Heathrow”

114,000 jobs in the area are claimed depend on Heathrow, representing 1 in 5 local jobs in the five boroughs closest to Heathrow. 

The Report ‘Aviation Strategy’ was published by the House of Commons Transport Committee on 10 May 2013 and is available at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/as-report---substantive/

Populus interviewed at least 1,000 adult residents (18+) in each of five constituencies and one London Borough local to Heathrow Airport by telephone between 27 February and 4 May 2013. In total, 6,003 residents were interviewed. Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in each constituency and borough. Constituency results were also weighted by past vote to be politically representative of all adults.

The full detail of all polling questions are at: http://www.populus.co.uk/Poll/


June 12, 2013