What Lib Dem members think about the third Heathrow runway and increased aviation capacity

by Stephen Tall on September 23, 2012

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Big thumbs-up to party’s continuing policy to oppose third Heathrow runway…

LDV asked: Do you support or oppose building a third runway at Heathrow airport?

    12% – Support
    79% – Oppose
    9% – Don’t know

The Tories may be preparing to U-turn on a third runway in readiness for their 2015 general election manifesto, but Lib Dems remain resolutely opposed to a further increase in capacity at the Heathrow, with four-fifths of members opposed.

Three-quarters of Lib Dems back increase in aviation capacity

LDV asked: But support for overall increase in aviation capacity, preferably outside London and the South-east: Which of the following statements best reflects your view on aviation capacity:

    17% – I oppose any increase in aviation capacity in the UK
    41% – I support some increase in aviation capacity as long as it is outside of London and the South-east
    36% – I support some increase in aviation capacity including inside London and the South-east
    5% – Don’t know / No opinion

Opposition to the third Heathrow runway may be overwhelming but it’s a more complex picture when Lib Dem members are asked about aviation capacity more generally. Just 17% are opposed to any increase anywhere; 77% support some increase in capacity — it all depends where. A narrow plurality, 41%, think any increase in capacity must be located outside London and the South-East, with a focus instead on regional hub airports such as Birmingham. However, over one-third (36%) support increases also within London and the South-East — this figure will include the small minority who back the third Heathrow runway, but also includes those prepared to consider expansion at Gatwick, Stanstead or even ‘Boris Island’.

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 500 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 22nd September. NB: most responses received before Nick Clegg’s apology broadcast.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.