Almost half of people living close to London Heathrow are in favour of expansion at the airport, according to a survey.
And 25 per cent of local residents are “more likely” to vote for a local councillor who backs expansion, researchers said.
The research emerged as Luis Vidal, the architect of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 building, said the north facade of the facility has been designed to allow for future expansion.
Researchers working for Populus spoke to 1,000 adult residents in seven London boroughs local to LHR.
While they found that a quarter of residents in west London and Windsor were more likely to vote for a councillor who backed expansion, 17 per cent said they would back a councillor against expansion.
The survey also showed that more local residents support a third runway than those opposed to the plan — some 48 per cent of residents are in favour of expansion, compared to 34 per cent who are not.
And 57 per cent of those questioned said they feel positive towards Heathrow, with 37 per cent neutral and six per cent feeling negative about the airport.
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “A third runway at Heathrow has traditionally been seen as the best option for the UK but politically difficult in west London.
“This research suggests that the political costs of supporting a third runway at Heathrow have been overstated. Far from being a political challenge, there is widespread local support for Heathrow.
“Many more people around Heathrow support a third runway than oppose it. More than 100,000 jobs depend on Heathrow and people want to see the airport flourish.”
Last week, a research firm revealed that passengers travelling London Heathrow are already paying an average of £95 more for a return ticket than they would do if the airport had a third runway (see news, April 17).