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New MP poll on airport expansion reveals ‘clear winner’

James Sloan, Transport Consultant, Dods Monitoring | Dods Monitoring

2 min read Partner content

Sir Howard Davies’ decision to support Heathrow expansion has been backed by a majority of MPs.

An exclusive poll by Dods reveals that almost three quarters (73 per cent) of MPs polled back some form of additional airport capacity around London.

Presented with the same shortlist as Sir Howard Davies’, the MPs polled in July 2015 backed the Commission’s findings, with a third (36 per cent) opting for Heathrow expansion.

A contentious issue, particularly for residents and MPs in West London, the MPs polled showed that Heathrow was the clear winner in the aviation expansion battle.

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Whilst only four per cent of MPs backed expansion at just Gatwick, the polling did show strong support for expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. A total of 31 per cent MPs polled chose this as their first preference.

Airport expansion is set to be a significant issue in the forthcoming London mayoral election, and of the London MPs polled, three quarters backed some form of additional airport expansion.

Under a tenth of MPs (9 per cent) wanted to block any further expansion around London.

With key Conservative MPs viscerally opposed including cabinet ministers Theresa May and Justine Greening, alongside London Mayor Boris Johnson, and Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith threatening a by-election on the issue, opposition to Heathrow may dash the hopes of those who want a quick Government decision on Sir Howard’s report.

Six years ago, the last Labour Government backed expansion at Heathrow, but failed to move the project on. With resignations threatened, backbench rebellion inevitable, alongside divided opinions amongst industry, community and campaigning organisations, the challenge now for the majority Conservative Government is to provide a settled and definitive solution to this most contentious of issues.

The MPs polled showed a clear backing for increased airport capacity, but the danger for supporters of expansion is that it will yet again find itself in the departure lounge, but delayed from taking off.

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The fieldwork for the survey of MPs took place in July 2015 and the sample was 99 Members of Parliament from across the political parties.

You can access the full briefing here.

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