The 2M group of local authorities claim allowing a third runway to be built at Heathrow Airport will inevitably lead to a fourth.

The all-party campaign alliance, which includes more than 20 councils, say the 'hub' airport model needs high volumes of short-haul 'feeder flights' to attract enough passengers to fill its long haul services.

As the hub adds more long haul routes to its schedule it needs to accommodate even more feeder flights to fill the extra seats, which would lead to peaks in demand throughout the day.

The group say this would lead to demands for additional runway and terminal space.

2M say such pressures would give the airport an insatiable appetite for expansion, arguing BAA's current bid to reopen the third runway, would be followed by demands for the possibility of a fourth.

Speaking on behalf of the campaign group, leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia said: "History shows that the airport has an unquenchable thirst for expansion.

"A successful hub will always want to grow – but you simply cannot keep adding new runways in this part of the country. It blights the lives of too many people.

"Expanding Heathrow would be the wrong decision on every level.

"There are better options for improving the UK’s connectivity and as we must now unpick the airport owner’s case which is inevitably based on its own commercial self interest."