Retailers have called on Government to reconsider plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, Kingfisher boss Ian Cheshire and Carphone Warehouse founder and chief executive Charles Dunstone have all lent their voices to the campaign, which highlights the divisions within the business community on the issue.

The group of business leaders, which also includes Compass chairman Roy Gardner and boss of private equity firm Alchemy Jon Moulton, have written an open letter calling on the Government to rethink its decision, according to The Sunday Times.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown approved a third runway earlier this year, arguing that environmental concerns were outweighed by benefits to the economy.

Cheshire said: “The real business case for this expansion has not been made. A business perspective on the situation would focus much more on how we restructure existing resources at Heathrow, with high speed rail and options at other airports, before pushing ahead with more capacity that seems to be driven by transit-passenger growth rather than improving Heathrow as a hub for UK plc.

“It is clear many other people share our desire for a more balanced review but have felt inhibited about speaking for somehow being seen as disloyal to the business community. I believe the opposite, which is that responsible business leaders must bring their experience to this debate.”