Residents vote ‘none of the above’ when asked about Gatwick expansion

W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes SUS-140619-104433001
W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes SUS-140619-104433001

The majority of people who responded to a poll about the future of Gatwick voted ‘none of the above’ when it came to expansion options.

The results were described as “embarrassing” by anti-expansion campaigners who accused the airport of attempting to conceal the figures.

The poll was published by market research experts Ipsos Mori and, of the 3,304 people who expressed an opinion about the three runway options which were on the table at the time, 2,165 said they didn’t want any of them.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said the results were “a foretaste of the nation-wide opposition to any new runway”.

Among the responses received in the poll was a campaign organised by The Woodland Trust to raise awareness of the options.

According to the report, responses were excluded from the final data when one or more identical response was submitted by an individual or organisation.

Mr Sewill responded: “They claim that 4,003 responses were the result of a campaign by The Woodland Trust, and can therefore be disregarded.

“We do not agree. Many of these responses contained specific comments and were thus not just the result of clicking a button.

“They are a foretaste of the nation-wide opposition to any new runway. Even leaving out the Woodland Trust responses, twice as many people voted for ‘none of these options’ as voted for all three runway options combined.

“And that was despite the ‘none of these options ‘ box being difficult to find.”

When asked to address GACC’s concerns about the results of the poll, a spokesman for Gatwick Airport said they had been included in its submission to the Airports Commission.

He added: “The airports expansion debate is of national significance but we are determined to be a good neighbour and listen to the views of those communities close to home. Expansion is always going to generate strong views but what is important is that public consultation process has allowed us to understand the key areas that matter most to local people.”

The Airports Commission will hold a national consultation in the autumn on the options for airport expansion, giving residents another opportunity to have their say on the plans.