West London voters ‘more likely’ to choose MP who backs Heathrow expansion

Residents of West London are reportedly more likely to vote for their MP if they support the Heathrow expansion than if they oppose a third runway, London Heathrow has said, citing new research from independent polling company Populus.

The research suggests that against political assumption, supporting a third runway at Heathrow could actually be a vote winner for local MPs. About 48 percent of residents said they supported expanding Heathrow, while 36 percent were opposed.

The research is important as it covers a statistically representative sample of those who will be most affected by the Heathrow expansion, which could be traditionally expected to be opposed to growth.

The research confirms that a silent majority of people in local boroughs support London Heathrow and its plans for a third runway. Only one constituency in the local area – Richmond Park – had more residents who opposed expansion than supported it, all other areas reportedly saw many more people supporting than opposing a third runway.

While 57 percent of voters polled said they feel positive towards Heathrow, 35 percent felt neutral and just seven percent felt negative towards the airport.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: ‘A third runway at Heathrow has traditionally been seen as the best option for the UK but politically difficult in West London. This research suggests that the political costs of supporting a third runway at Heathrow have been vastly overstated.

‘Far from being politically impossible, there is widespread local support for Heathrow. Many more people around Heathrow support a third runway than oppose it. More than 100,000 jobs depend on Heathrow and people want to see the airport flourish, not decline or close as the Mayor proposes.’

Populus interviewed a representative sample of 7,000 people by telephone in the Hounslow, Ealing, Richmond, Spelthorne, and Windsor constituencies and the London Borough of Hillingdon in November.