Heathrow suggests congestion charge for vehicles – to try and keep within air quality limits

Heathrow will announce its north- west runway plan on Tuesday 13th May. They have no interest in the Jock Lowe Heathrow Hub option. Heathrow is aware that as well as noise, air pollution is a show – stopper issue for their hopes of a new runway. Hence they are now suggesting to the Airports Commission that there should be a congestion charge  for people travelling to Heathrow by car – after the public transport has been set up (largely at public expense). Some of the money raised may go towards public transport. Heathrow is trying to make out there will not only be no more noise caused by a 3rd runway, but no more road vehicles than now.  They depend on emissions standards for NOx for new cars becoming tighter in future.  Expansion of Heathrow would mean massive road  congestion in the area. The Standard reports that Heathrow is moving its planned north-west runway slightly south, in order to avoid the M25 and M4  junction.  To make way for the new runway to the north west of the airport, Heathrow will build a 600-metre tunnel taking traffic under the M25. A tunnel would run alongside the motorway – and be part-funded by Government.


Heathrow congestion charge could be used to fund public transport improvements

Heathrow Airport will say to the Airports Commission this month that there may be a case for introducing a congestion charge for people travelling to the airport once improvements in public transport have been delivered.

A congestion charge would reduce traffic congestion levels and improve air quality for local communities while raising money for public transport improvements. The scheme would help ensure there are no more airport related vehicles on the road with a third runway than there are today.

Heathrow has made a commitment to increase the proportion of passengers who use public transport to access the airport from 40% today to more than 50% by 2030. A charge would provide a simple mechanism for managing demand and would future-proof Heathrow’s ability to meet air quality limits and minimise traffic on local roads in a wide range of possible scenarios.

Major new public transport schemes are due to be delivered in the next few years. Crossrail will connect the airport to the City and East London; a Piccadilly Line upgrade will provide improved frequency and faster journey times for London Underground passengers; Western Rail Access will provide fast direct access to Heathrow for passengers from Slough, Reading and the Thames Valley as well as improve journey times to the South West and South Wales; Southern Rail Access would provide a new direct connection to south-west London and improve journey times to the south coast. High Speed 2 will connect Heathrow via Old Oak Common to the Midlands and the North.

A congestion charge would help to discourage drop off and pick up and would apply only for those travelling to the airport – not to surrounding roads like the A30, A4, M4 or M25. Heathrow envisages that there could be exemptions in place for the greenest vehicles, taxis and for local residents, although this would be subject to future consultation. Funds could be ring-fenced to contribute towards major rail, London Underground and road improvements, as well as pay for further sustainable travel initiatives, public transport schemes and community transport improvements.

Heathrow Head of Surface Access Simon Earles said:

“During our recent community consultation people raised concerns about the impact of a new runway on traffic congestion and air pollution. Once improvements to public transport to the airport have been delivered we believe there may be a case for a congestion charge for passengers travelling to the airport to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and raise money for further public transport improvements. The idea is at an early stage and we will of course consult on these plans at the appropriate time.”

Vehicles travelling to the airport will be cleaner [“cleaner” is a silly euphemism that usually means lower carbon – probably used here to refer to NOx too] in future as planned vehicle emissions standards come into force over the next few years. Combined with new aircraft technology this means that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) would be within EU limits with a third runway. Levels of fine particles (PM10 and PM2.5) are already within EU limits around the airport and will remain so with a third runway.

Heathrow operates a clean vehicles programme to promote low and zero emissions vehicles among airport companies. The airport also hosts the UK’s first publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling site and is increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points at its passenger car parks. We have pioneered the use of electric passenger rapid transit (PRT) pods instead of buses between Terminal 5 and its business car park. We also operate the world’s largest car sharing scheme and have an award-winning cycle hub for employees. The UK Government is forecasting a significant increase in alternatively powered vehicles, like electric cars in the years ahead.

Notes to editors

Congestion charging has become popular at other cities since being introduced in London in 2003. Some examples where charging systems have been implemented include Stockholm (2006), Santiago (2007), Oslo (2011) Milan (2012) and Gothenburg (2013). More are planned globally, with Brazil voting in legislation last year for a system to be implemented in Sao Paulo and plans afoot in China. Forecourt charging is already commonplace at many UK airports. The London congestion zone has directly resulted in an extra £1.2bn being invested in London’s transport through ring-fenced funds.

More information about air quality near Heathrow is available at: http://www.heathrowairwatch.org.uk/

More information about what Heathrow is doing today to reduce air pollution is available at:http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/ImageLibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=2004&SizeId=-1




Heathrow alters runway plans to avoid digging up the M25

On course: a plane coming in to land over houses near Heathrow

Heathrow airport has shifted the site of its proposed third runway to avoid digging up Britain’s busiest motorway junction, the Standard has learned.

The planned airstrip has moved south closer to the A4 to avoid major works on the M25’s junction with the M4. To make way for the new runway to the north west of the airport, Heathrow will build a 600-metre tunnel taking traffic under the M25.

Under plans developed with the Highways Agency, the tunnel would run alongside the motorway. It would be comprised of four portals separating vehicles heading for the airport or staying on the motorways and be part-funded by Government.

The RAC Foundation demanded stiff penalties if Heathrow failed to meet its pledge to keep the M25 open. Its director, Professor Stephen Glaister, said: “To keep Heathrow to their word a lane rental scheme is needed. This would hit Heathrow with fines if the 200,000 drivers who use this section of the M25 each day face anything but minimal disruption.”

The shift takes the runway further away from Langley, Richings Park and Harmondsworth, although Colnbrook would be closer. It could save historic buildings in Harmondsworth, including the Grade I-listed Great Barn rated by English Heritage as important architecturally as Westminster Abbey.

Heathrow also unveiled plans for a charge to deter passengers from driving to the airport if it gets approval for the third runway. The proposal would come into force in 2030 to keep traffic flowing on the airport estate by cutting the number of pick-up and drop-offs.

Heathrow said it would only be levied on airport users, and local residents and taxis would be exempt. Airport bosses want 50 per cent of passengers using public transport to reduce congestion and prevent a breach of EU air quality standards. Heathrow Head of Surface Access Simon Earles said: “A congestion charge would improve air quality, and raise money for public transport improvements.”

On the proposed toll for those driving to Heathrow, Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith said; “It has always been known that a third runway would cause congestion chaos across west London, and this announcement was inevitable.

“However it is a disgrace that none of this has been mentioned in Heathrow’s recent 3rd runway public consultations. The company simply has not been straight with residents, and I intend to raise this in Parliament.”

The mayor’s advisor on aviation, Daniel Moylan, said: “It appears Heathrow may finally have woken up to the fact that the madness of building a third and then inevitably a fourth runway in west London would have a catastrophic effect on local roads not to mention their own site.

“If true that on top of pricey parking charges they are now considering some form of additional road-user charge it will be extremely unpopular with families heading for their well-earned breaks, and clearly they will have to consider whether this would apply to taxis and even their own staff.

“It is not clear whether they have considered the effect on local public transport networks that are already straining at the seams and only adds to the impression that they do not give a fig for the wellbeing of west London.”

The runway would add 260,000 flights a year to the existing 480,000 when it opened in 2026. Some 1,500 buildings would be lost in Longford and Harmondsworth and the latter would be wiped off the map.

Heathrow is Europe’s noisiest airport affecting 240,000 locals. The Davies commission said the noise impact of the new runway would be neutral.





May 9, 2014 8:08 pm

Heathrow stands firm on third-runway option

Heathrow Airport Holdings will on Tuesday issue its revised proposal for a third runway located to the northwest of the existing site, following a public consultation with local residents about the scheme.

Heathrow’s public consultation sought to establish whether there was strong support from residents who live under its flight paths for periods during the day when no aircraft pass overhead.

These periods of respite, which exist because Heathrow alternates the runway its flights land on, underpin the company’s third runway proposal. However, the proposal would also expose new communities to aircraft noise because of the extra runway’s location to the northwest.

In contrast, the proposal by Heathrow Hub would not expose new communities to aircraft noise. But Mr Lowe’s plan would offer less scope for respite for communities already affected by noise, the Davies commission said in its interim report last December.

Heathrow Airport Holdings said on Friday that its consultation found local residents preferred “significant periods of relief from noise” and showed it was “a more important consideration than exposing people to noise for the first time”.



The commission estimated that Heathrow Airport Holdings’ proposal, and Heathrow Hub’s plan, would both cost between £13bn and £18bn.

Heathrow’s revised third runway proposal involves moving its location farther south to avoid having to make changes to the busy motorway junction between the M4 and M25.

However, the proposed runway still clashes with the route of the M25. Heathrow has therefore recommended building a 600-metre tunnel that would take M25 traffic under the runway.


Full FT article at