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Heathrow: ‘More work to do’ for local support

A new north-west runway (left) would be a full 3,200m long. Enough for any aircraft type to use

Heathrow airport has announced it will carry out two further public consultations in 2019 despite claiming local support for its third runway is ‘strong’.

According to the airport, a recent poll of 12,500 residents from constituencies that stand to be affected by the new runway shows more local people support the expansion than in 2015 when the regular surveys began.

The poll was the first to be conducted since the National Policy Statement (NPS) on expansion was passed in Parliament in June and shows 56 per cent of residents in prime minister Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead support growing Heathrow – 6 per cent more than the start of 2018.

However, Heathrow will launch two further consultations in January and June 2019 to follow on from the information gathered earlier this year. The airport says this will allow local people to “have their say” on the plans.

The consultation will allow residents to weigh in on the proposed scheme for building the third runway and how Heathrow will mitigate the effects of expansion on local communities.

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director of expansion at the airport, said: “This polling shows that thousand of local people recognise the benefits expansion will bring, including jobs and apprenticeships and the steps we have taken to deliver growth sustainability. It also shows we have more work to do to assure our neighbours we have plans to address the negative impacts of a third runway.

“Next year’s consultation will be an important opportunity for our neighbours to speak to us directly, so they can help shape and improve our expansion plans and deliver an expanded Heathrow we can all be proud of.”

Heathrow still faces staunch opposition from a group made up of five local councils, London mayor Sadiq Khan and environmental charity Greenpeace, as well as from airlines and other suppliers that operate at the airport that say there must be a guarantee passenger fees won’t increase to pay for expansion.

Independent expansion proposal group Heathrow Hub has requested a legal review of the Department for Transport’s decision-making process in approving the NPS.

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