Heathrow plans a ULEZ from 2022 for passenger cars, taxis etc coming to car parks or drop-off areas
Heathrow knows it has to try to do something to cut its high levels of air pollution. So it has proposed some changes, to slightly reduce pollution from road vehicles (nothing about the pollution from the planes). The plan is to introduce charges for passenger cars and all private hire vehicles, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It would be the world’s first airport ULEZ. That might start in 2022, and then turn into a VAC (Vehicle Access Charge) on all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles coming to car parks or drop-off areas, if the runway finally gets built. Heathrow says: “We want to reduce congestion by decreasing the number of cars on the road and encourage more people to use sustainable ways of getting to and from the airport…” And “The Heathrow ULEZ will introduce minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London Mayor’s ULEZ…” Initial proposals set the charge figure between £10-£15 per vehicle. “Revenue collected from both schemes will help fund initiatives to improve sustainable transport, contribute to community compensation and help keep airport charges affordable as the airport expands.” (sic) [ie. keep flights cheap, so there can be more flights, which will lead to more air pollution].
“All you need to know about Heathrow’s vehicle access plans”
By Heathrow Airport [so it is pretty much greenwash …..]
24th May 2019
Some extracts below, avoiding the greenwash bits…
Heathrow has announced that it will : “introduce new measures to protect local air quality and reduce congestion on roads around the airport.”
Heathrow is ….”is putting plans in motion to introduce charges for passenger cars and all private hire vehicles, with the world’s first airport Ultra Low Emission Zone (the Heathrow ULEZ).”
Heathrow hopes, if it gets its new runway [it just assumes it will …] with “improvements to public transport access to the airport, the Heathrow ULEZ will transition into a vehicle access charge (VAC) on all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles coming to car parks or drop-off areas.”
“Heathrow is introducing the world’s first airport Ultra Low Emission Zone (the Heathrow ULEZ) in 2022. From 2026, this will transition into a vehicle access charge (VAC).
[As well as a huge contribution to air pollution from planes, which Heathrow would like to gloss over] road vehicles are a major source of local air pollution – “these schemes will tackle this problem. We want to reduce congestion by decreasing the number of cars on the road and encourage more people to use sustainable ways of getting to and from the airport, like public transport.”
“Our announcement comes at a time when action is needed to protect local air quality by changing industry and public behaviour. Heathrow will now join London and Birmingham as the third UK zone to impose charges on the most polluting cars.”
“The Heathrow ULEZ will introduce minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London Mayor’s ULEZ for passenger cars, motorcycles and private hire vehicles.
Vehicles with older, more polluting engines, will have to pay the Heathrow ULEZ. The charge will apply to petrol cars that fail to meet “Euro 4” emissions standards (typically those registered up to 2005), and diesel cars that fail to meet “Euro 6” standards (typically those registered up to September 2015).
The vehicle access charge will apply to all passenger cars, motorcycles taxis and private hire vehicles.”
“The charges apply to vehicles entering the car parks or drop-off areas at any of Heathrow’s terminals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Heathrow will use Automatic Number-Plate Recognition technology (ANPR) to track non-compliant vehicles, similar to the Congestion Charge or Dart Charge.
Initial proposals set the charge figure between £10-£15, in line with charges set by the Mayor in central London.
“Revenue collected from both schemes will help fund initiatives to improve sustainable transport, contribute to community compensation and help keep airport charges affordable as the airport expands.” (sic) [ie. keep flights cheap, so there can be more flights, which will lead to more air pollution].
[Then there is a bit of waffle about “sustainability” like “significant investments made to offset emissions and speed up electric flight, supporting the airport’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2020 (sic) and to operate zero carbon airport infrastructure by 2050.”]
Heathrow is trying to staff reduce vehicle use by “a targeted colleague strategy, which will be launched next week and will focus on reducing the number of colleague car trips though a mixture of incentives, restraints on parking and investment in new public transport links.”
There will be consultation about some of this, in the upcoming “Airport Expansion Consultation” that starts on 18th June (ends 13th September).
The full Heathrow airport webpage on this is at
To find out more information click here.
Heathrow plans its own Ulez for drivers doing drop-off at up to £15 a day
By JONATHAN PRYNN (Evening Standard)
24th May 2019
Thousands of passengers driving to Heathrow Airport will be made to pay a pollution charge of up to £15
Thousands of Heathrow passengers will be made to pay a “pollution charge” of up to £15 if they drive to the airport to catch flights, it was announced today.
The west London hub revealed it will introduce its own version of Sadiq Khan’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez) from 2022 in a bid to clean up the filthy air and reduce heavy congestion around Europe’s busiest airport.
Any driver who parks or drops off a passenger will have to pay the one-off levy if their vehicle fails to meet the same minimum-emissions standards as apply with Ulez. Typically this will affect any diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars that pre-date 2005. The Heathrow Ulez will also apply to private hire cars such as minicabs or Ubers but not black taxis.
The exact level of the charge has not yet been decided but is expected to be between £10 and £15. When the third runway is opened, currently scheduled for 2026, the airport plans to extend the charge to cover all cars, including taxis, regardless of their level of emissions.
The only exemption will be for staff working at Heathrow, which next week is launching a strategy aimed at encouraging more airport employees to leave their cars at home. Airport bosses said the measure was aimed at ensuring that increasing the capacity of Heathrow through the construction of a third runway “will not come at an unacceptable environmental cost”.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy and the environment — we must deliver for both. The announcement shows that we will take the tough decisions to ensure that the airport grows responsibly.” Funds raised from the charges will be collected by Heathrow and ploughed into green transport infrastructure such as electric charging points.
Campaigners against the third runway say the extra traffic generated by the airport’s near-doubled capacity of 130 million passengers a year will have a disastrous impact on the environment.
The roads around the airport, including the M25, M4, M3 and A4, are some of the busiest and most-polluted in London, with levels of harmful NO2 emissions particularly high. The monitoring station at Keats Way, close to the airport perimeter, yesterday showed a reading of 47 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre, well above the legal limit of 40.
Only about 40 per cent of passengers use public transport to get to Heathrow and a recent report by consumer body London TravelWatch suggested the proportion may be falling because of the popularity of ride-hailing apps.
TfL making £220,000 a day from London’s new Ulez
By ROSS LYDALL City Hall Editor (Evening Standard)
Thursday 16 May 2019
London’s vehicle pollution levy is bringing in around £220,000 a day for Transport for London, it was revealed today.
An average of 17,400 drivers of older, more-polluting vehicles paid the charge to drive into central London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) in its first month.
Cars, vans and motorbikes with exhaust emissions that breach the rules pay £12.50 a day, while HGVs and coaches pay £100 a day.
Just under three-quarters of the 120,000 vehicles entering the Ulez — which launched on April 8 and uses the same boundaries as the Congestion Charge — complied with the emissions rules and did not have to pay.
The remaining 26 per cent — equating to 32,100 vehicles a day — breached the emissions standards.
However, 11,700 of these were exempt, either because they were black taxis (7,900 vehicles) or belonged to residents living within the zone or disabled drivers. A further 3,000 drivers a day failed to pay the charge but were sent a warning letter rather than a £130 fine under an unexpected “softly, softly” introductory approach.
The 74 per cent vehicle compliance figure is above TfL’s expectations and compares with 61 per cent weekday compliance in March, suggesting thousands of drivers have already switched to vehicles with lower emissions to escape the charge.
It means there were 9,400 fewer “polluting” vehicles a day entering the zone, down 26 per cent compared with March. Overall, the total volume of daytime traffic in the zone (between 7am and 6pm) was down only 1.8 per cent, from 91,035 vehicles to 89,380.
The figures were calculated after disregarding unusual events such as the Easter holidays and road disruption caused by the Extinction Rebellion eco-protests.
Sadiq Khan said: “Today’s report shows how bold action reaps rewards. Just one month after launching Ulez we have already seen a significant impact on the types of vehicles driving in the centre of our capital and polluting our air. It’s early days, but it’s great to see Londoners and businesses are doing their bit to make a difference.”
TfL says it is too early to say what impact the Ulez has had on nitrogen dioxide roadside concentrations, which it was set up to reduce.
Despite warnings that drivers who failed to pay the Ulez would be penalised from day one, TfL chose only to issue warning letters.
This was done for the “first contravention” to encourage drivers to switch to auto-pay and “allow for any genuine mistakes”.
If TfL had issued the fines it would have raised at least an additional £240,000 a day, as the £160 fines are discounted to £80 if paid within a fortnight.
Mr Khan has vowed to extend the Ulez zone to the boundary of the North and South Circular roads in October 2021 if he is re-elected in May next year.
His Tory rival Shaun Bailey would retain the central London zone but scrap the extension.