AddThis SmartLayers

Paper polls readers on airports expansion

A weekly newspaper is asking its readers to get on board the debate to decide the future direction of air travel in the most congested corner of Britain.

The West Sussex County Times is calling on its audience to take part in a ‘copycat’ poll on airport expansion in the south east.

The Johnston Press title has jumped into the argument over whether there should be a second runway at Gatwick or a third one at Heathrow – after the results of another survey were released.

Gatwick Airport Ltd commissioned a poll – carried out by independent polling company YouGov – which asked 1,009 people which airport they preferred to see take the extra strain.

Debate that won't fly away . . . Gatwick Airport

But the paper took up the cudgels on the issue after the airport came under fire from opponents of expansion – calling it a ‘phony’ survey as only a small proportion of respondents were from the areas directly affected.

The weekly’s readers were told: “The County Times has launched its own survey – trying to replicate the airport’s questionnaire.

“We would like to know if you would support expansion at Gatwick Airport or at Heathrow.”

The readers, like the ones in the original survey, were asked: When taking into account the local economy, the impact on the local area and creating balance in the air travel market, which airport should get another runway?

In the YouGov poll, sampled from districts and boroughs neighbouring the Gatwick Airport, some were 52pc supported expansion at Gatwick.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “The survey was carried out by YouGov according to their robust polling procedures.

“It would not be in YouGov’s interests to damage their professional reputation and integrity by producing results that could not be trusted.

“We have also been completely transparent putting the data tables in the public domain.”