Planes and trains

August 11, 2011, 11:34 PM GMT+0

Opinion is divided on whether aeroplanes should be able to take off and land at London airports Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted during the night, while two fifths of people feel that a high speed rail link between England’s major cities should be the greater priority for Government spending on transport, compared to the building of another airport, our poll has discovered.

While two in five British people say that planes should be allowed to take-off during the night, just slightly fewer say that night flying should not be permitted, and only 16% think that a new airport should take priority over a high speed railway.

  • 43% of British people think planes should be allowed to take off and land during the night at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airport
  • While 40% say that planes should not be allowed to take-off during the night
  • 36% of people support suggestions that a new main airport for the UK should be built either in North Kent or on a manmade island
  • 27% of people oppose this idea
  • 43% of people think the greatest spending priority for government spending on transport should be on building the proposed high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds
  • While just 16% say spending priority should be on a new airport, and 29% feel that neither of these should be given precedence

The proposed high speed rail link, also known as HS2, is estimated to cut journey times between the UK's two biggest cities, London and Birmingham, and will also travel though Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire. It would reduce travel time from London to Birmingham from an hour and a quarter to under an hour, while travel time from London to Edinburgh in Scotland would be reduced from four and a half hours to three and a half.

Built by 2026

Plans for the rail link, which is expected to be built around 2026, have divided public opinion, with supporters arguing that it will drastically reduce journey times, and critics saying that it is a waste of money.

Cost and environmental implications?

‘I was surprised how polarised opinion was along the route, between people who lived in both cities and those who lived in the countryside,’ said Tim Stansfeld, who walked the entire 115 mile proposed high speed rail link route last month, asking residents for their views on the project.

‘I had no idea of the extent of well-informed opposition that is springing up from the edge of London to the edge of Birmingham. It was shocking that nearly everyone I spoke to had looked at all the arguments about the costs and the environmental implications.’