Three quarters of Londoners support airport expansion of some kind in London - but only 21% prefer the creation of a new “super-airport” to the expansion of existing facilities
Boris Johnson, as part of a sustained campaign against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, last week released research claiming that only a new, four-runway “super airport” in London could provide enough global connections to allow Britain to compete in global trade. However, a recent YouGov survey of Londoners finds that while some form of expansion is widely supported, the development of a new airport is less popular than expansion of existing facilities.
Just 21% of Londoners think a four-runway “super airport” should be built in London at a completely new location. In contrast, 26% say Heathrow should be expanded and 27% say one of the other existing London airports should be added to.
Although there is little consensus on which specific proposal is prefereable, Londoners do favor airport expansion of some kind by a wide majority: total support for the three expansion options comes to 74%, while only 12% of Londoners say there should be “no changes to the current airport capacity in London.”
In May the four-runway airport that Boris Johnson has been arguing for to be built on the Thames Estuary - dubbed ‘Boris Island’ by some – was criticised by the House of Commons Transport Committee, who said it would be expensive, damaging to wildlife habitats and could force the closure of Heathrow. The former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, who supports the expansion of Heathrow, has said "It is nonsense not to make up our minds."