Wednesday 27 July 2016 12:33 pm

MPs back third runway at Heathrow in first post-Brexit poll

Members of Parliament overwhelmingly support a third runway at Heathrow to expand aviation capacity in the south east, according to the latest poll.

In the first post-Brexit poll on the matter, 76 per cent of MPs think an expanded Heathrow is an important factor in Britain’s future ability to stay connected to the world in the wake of the referendum result, indicating cross-party support.

The polling, carried out by YouGov, also found 74 per cent of MPs think a third runway at Heathrow demonstrates that the UK wants to trade internationally, compared to only 12 per cent who think the same of an expanded Gatwick.

Read more: MPs call for "urgent" decision on airport expansion

“The government is committed to delivering a positive Brexit plan and MPs couldn’t be clearer – an expanded Heathrow is fundamental to Britain’s future as an outward-looking trading nation,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

“A third runway at Heathrow will open up 40 new markets for Britain’s exporters, spur inbound tourism to every corner of our country and create up to 180,000 new skilled jobs.

“By expanding Heathrow, the Prime Minister will make the right choice for a stronger British economy.”

Read more: Heathrow grows revenue and profit as it waits for expansion decision

The comments come after it was announced late last month that the airport expansion decision has been pushed back until "at least" October.

Business leaders have been pushing for a quick decision since the Davies Commission was published last July, recommended building a third runway at Heathrow.

The government said in December it would delay making a decision on airport expansion in the south east until at least this summer, saying "more work will be done on environmental impacts" in the interim.

While many business groups would prefer to see a runway at Heathrow, they also want to see a quick decision made.

To that effect, a spokesperson for Gatwick said: “What Britain wants is a runway that can actually be delivered so that the UK can finally benefit from the additional flights and links it will bring.

“Poll after poll shows Londoners and London Councillors overwhelmingly support Gatwick expansion because they understand that Britain can only benefit if the delivery of a new runway can be balanced with the impact it will have on people and the environment.

“Heathrow has been tried and has repeatedly failed because it cannot overcome the huge impacts of noise and air quality. Finally, there is an alternative and Gatwick can deliver all the links and benefits of a new runway at a dramatically lower impact on the environment.”