Gatwick airport says that three quarters of local residents support its plans to increase capacity by making better use of its existing runways.

The airport commissioned You Gov to survey 3,000 residents living in Sussex, Kent and Surrey, with 74 per cent supporting the plans, and 14 per cent opposing.

In October Gatwick released a draft masterplan for the future of the airport, which includes the potential of bringing its current standby runway into routine use.

This would be achieved by moving the maintenance and emergency runway – which runs parallel to the main runway – fractionally further to the north, in order for it to comply with “all international safety requirement”.

The airport said that if the standby runway was brought into use, it would only be used for “smaller departing aircraft only”, and could potentially be brought into routine use by the mid 2020s.

Gatwick also asked residents whether they would support the safeguarding of land south of the airport, “in case it is ever needed for a new runway to meet future long-term demand”, with 67 per cent supporting the plan and 16 per cent opposing.

A 12-week consultation runs until January 10, 2019 to gather feedback on the draft master plan, which can be read here.

Commenting on the results of the poll Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said:

“These results show that an overwhelming majority of residents in Sussex, Surrey and Kent who were surveyed both support our plans for growth and recognise how important they are in terms securing the region’s economic prosperity and new jobs for generations to come.

“Our draft master plan sets out our vision for the airport’s sustainable growth into the 2030s and explains how it can meet the UK’s increasing demand for air travel and global connectivity.  The plan would help us to bolster the national and local economies for future generations and I encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation process.”