Wandsworth residents back Gatwick expansion

A poll of more than 1,500 Wandsworth residents shows the majority now support expansion at Gatwick airport.

Of the people questioned, 57 per cent support a new runway at Gatwick compared to 16 per cent who want a new runway at Heathrow. 24 per cent of respondents preferred no expansion at either airport and the remainder were unsure.

The council’s research focussed on the choice between adding a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow which are now the only locations on the Airports Commission’s expansion shortlist. Key findings include:

  • Of those surveyed, 58 per cent agree or strongly agree that airport expansion in the south of England is now a necessary step.
  • 42 per cent believe expanding Gatwick would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth’s while 16 per cent believe expanding Heathrow would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth.
  • There is high support for noise respite periods with 87 per cent in favour of people living around airports being given regular breaks from aircraft noise.
  • 84 per cent said there should be no flights over peoples’ homes before 6am.
  • 80 per cent said the prospect of increased aircraft noise over their homes is a big concern.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“The survey results show that Gatwick expansion is by far the most popular option here in Wandsworth. Our residents have sent a very clear message and we will act on it.”

“A motion will be put before next week’s full council meeting which would see Wandsworth taking a proactive role in supporting the Gatwick bid. If we take the initiative now we can help shape the transport package that comes alongside the new runway and maximise the benefits for Wandsworth and the south London region.”

“The ground has clearly shifted in this debate and we expect public in other parts of London will reflect the consensus here in Wandsworth. For the last ten years Heathrow expansion has proved a political impossibility. Following the break up of BAA, Gatwick has emerged as a viable alternative with a fraction of the environmental costs and noise impacts.”

“Our survey has also bolstered the case for a ban on night flights over London and will help us fight any further proposals that threaten respite periods. We will ensure the Airport Commission and the Department for Transports takes careful note of our community’s views.”