Gatwick claims Londoners back its growth plans

GATWICK Airport yesterday ramped up the competition with Heathrow over where to build a new runway, with the release of another poll showing Londoners’ preference for expansion at the Sussex hub.

The airport cited six of seven YouGov polls between October and April showing Londoners favoured Gatwick. In the latest of the votes, all of which were based on 1,025 to 1,061 respondents, 45 per cent opted for Gatwick while 34 per cent chose Heathrow.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “A new runway at Gatwick can deliver the economic benefits the country needs at a fraction of the environmental and financial cost of Heathrow.”

But another poll last month, from London First, a not-for-profit lobby group, said London businesses would prefer a new runway at Heathrow. London First said that 59 per cent of its members voted for Heathrow, against 25 per cent for Gatwick.

The Airports Commission is due to make its recommendation to the government on which site should be expanded after the General Election. The commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has ruled out the Thames estuary site – termed Boris Island.

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