London firms call for air action as poll shows Heathrow anger

Marion Dakers
THE LONDON Chamber of Commerce has criticised the government’s “policy paralysis” on boosting the south east of England’s air links, as a new poll shows huge local opposition to a new runway at Heathrow.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the business group, urged ministers to commit to short- to medium-term measures before the general election in 2015.

“Ongoing aviation policy paralysis is giving rise to negative perceptions internationally about London’s place as a competitive global city,” he said.

The coalition commissioned the Davies review into aviation capacity last year, but its final recommendations are not expected until after the election.

Meanwhile, a poll of residents living near Heathrow showed that 72 per cent oppose a third runway at the airport.

Richmond and Hillingdon councils said more than 100,000 people voted against expansion at Heathrow during a local referendum, on a turnout of around 41 per cent.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is also against a bigger Heathrow, said the poll highlights the “sheer lunacy” of “attempting to squeeze an extra runway into an area which is so densely populated and already blighted by noise and air pollution”.