Support for the expansion of Heathrow and London’s four other main airports has increased amongst people who live nearest them over the past four years.

According to a Government study into the ‘Public experiences of and attitudes towards air travel’, people living near Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City and Stansted are less concerned about the proposals than they were in 2010.

There has been a 10 per cent increase of people who are in favour of expanding their nearest airport - 46 per cent of neighbours would now back an expansion compared to 36 per cent four years ago.

And people are less concerned about air travel’s impact on the environment than they used to be.

The questionnaire revealed that 46 per cent of people believe airport expansion should be limited to protect the local environment, compared with 61 per cent who said so back in 2010.

And just 42 per cent of people said an airport expansion should be limited to mitigate climate change, compared with 57 per cent in 2010

The survey suggests people are now more interested in the potential and economic benefits of expanding airports, with 55 of those surveyed saying they would like to see extra terminals and runways built to boost the economy. However, only 44 per cent agreed with that sentiment back in 2010.

The survey does not break down responses from particular areas, so it is not clear how relevant this shift in attitude is to those affected by Heathrow’s expansion plans.

jackie clark-basten Image 1
jackie clark-basten Image 1
 

But Jackie Clark (pictured), who lives and works in Sipson, says she has noticed the change and believes it is due to the difference in the community’s demographic compared to 2010.

“I have to say there are a lot of people who are in favour of the expansion in terms of a work point of view,” she said.

“And a lot of people are just battle weary.”

She said the rise in home-owners moving out and selling their properties to landlords has also contributed to the change of opinion.

“There’s been a shift in the demographic in the village. It’s changed,” she said.

“The people here are mostly transient, so if a runway came it wouldn’t affect them - they’d rent another house nearby and continue working.”

But despite this, Ms Clark believes there are still plenty of people left in the village who are willing to fight.

“We won’t give up on this, that’s for sure,” she said.