Gatwick Airport’s master plan to increase capacity by making better use of its existing runways has been backed by three-quarters of residents in Kent, Sussex and Surrey counties in the UK.

Gatwick said that nearly 67% of people who participated in the survey commissioned by the airport supported its plans to safeguard land to build a new runway, according to a survey by YouGov.

Just 14% of survey participants objected to the airport’s growth plans.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: “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.”

“Just 14% of survey participants objected to the airport’s growth plans.”

A public consultation on the airport’s draft master plan will run until 10 January.

Wingate added: “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.”

However, the opposition campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (Cagne) has criticised the poll.

Cagne told BBC: “Gatwick are purposely misleading people during this consultation and we find it absolutely appalling that Gatwick have released this poll result now when the consultation does not finish until 10 January.”

The master plan includes a proposal to bring Gatwick’s emergency runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.