Drivers for miles around Heathrow could face £15 congestion charge, to TRY and keep to legal air pollution limits
Transport for London (TfL) estimates perhaps a £50 fee per passenger car and taxi trip would be needed for the airport to meet its own promise that road journeys would not increase with expansion. ( Source – AEF – Aviation Environment Federation).
Drivers may face £15 Heathrow Airport congestion charge
By Steven Swinford, deputy political editor (Telegraph)
29 APRIL 2018
Heathrow may impose a £15 congestion charge on holidaymakers driving to the airport in a bid to meet emissions targets, The Telegraph has learned.
Motorists will face the charge on the 82 miles of road surrounding the airport in a bid to encourage millions of passengers to leave their cars at home.
The airport is consulting on plans for a “low emissions zone” which would charge all vehicles based on their emissions, but views it as a “last resort”.
However Whitehall sources said Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, believes it is the only realistic way that the airport can meet stringent emissions targets.
The third runway will accommodate 740,000 flights a year, about 50 per cent more than the current limit, with passenger numbers expected to almost double to 130million a year by 2050.
Increased traffic too and from Heathrow is seen as one of the biggest barriers to meeting emissions targets.
Pollution on the M4, north of the airport, is already up two thirds higher than the legal maximum.
Ministers believe that the airport will be able to meet the targets with the help of an increased number of public transport routes, including a new direct rail link from Reading and another south of the airport into Waterloo station.
A station for London’s east-west Crossrail line will also be opened, bus routes will be extended and more electric vehicles and car sharing clubs for airport staff will be promoted.
Ed King, President of the AA, said: “Many people go by car to the airport for good reason – they have heavy baggage and children with them. It’s not always practical to go by train or coach. For many people access by car is essential.
“We would be worried that this would be the thin end of the wedge and it could expand elsewhere. In effect the price of getting to the airport and parking might overtake the price of fares. It’s a crazy situation, particularly for families on low incomes.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, said: “It is also not fair on passengers who have no other realistic way of travelling to the airport. Charging should not be introduced until all planned improvements to the public transport network have been completed.
“Investment in surface access should be the priority – not pricing people off the roads – and the Government should now come forward and use its upcoming National Policy Statement to set out which road and rail schemes it intends to support including much-needed clarity on the funding of these projects and an accompanying plan for delivery.”
A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said: “We have an ambitious plan to treble our rail capacity by 2040 and enable 30 million more passengers to use public transport.
“If needed, we have said a congestion charge could be another way to reduce road journeys and support our sustainable transport plans as part of our “triple lock” guarantee.”
Driving to Heathrow ‘could soon cost you an extra £15’ as congestion charge considered for 82 miles around airport
Critics have labelled the proposed move unfair as airport bosses weigh up how to meet emissions targets
Holidaymakers who drive to Heathrow could soon be hit with a congestion charge in a move branded ‘unfair’ by critics.
Airport bosses are considering the measure to try and persuade tourists to leave their cars at home and help meet strict emissions targets.
It has been reported that more than 80 miles of roads around the transport hub would be affected – but critics claim it would unfairly impact on passengers with no other way of reaching Heathrow.
According to reports, drivers could be hit with a £15 charge – but airport bosses say they “don’t recognise” this figure.
The move is currently considered a ‘last resort’, The Telegraph reports.
But the newspaper says Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is in favour of the low emissions zone, believing it is the only way to meet emissions targets.
Officials hope that improvements to rail links serving Heathrow, including a new Crossrail station which will link it with Berkshire and East London, will encourage more people to take the train instead of driving.
It comes amid concerns over pollution levels on the nearby M4, which is currently two thirds above the legal cap.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the association of UK airlines, have branded it another tax on passengers.
In a statement he said: “Airlines remain opposed to what in effect will be another tax on air travel at a time when the Government continues to penalise passengers through sky-high levels of Air Passenger Duty, and passenger charges at Heathrow remain the highest in the world.
“It is also not fair on passengers who have no other realistic way of travelling to the airport.
He continued: “Investment in surface access should be the priority – not pricing people off the roads – and the Government should now come forward and use its upcoming National Policy Statement to set out which road and rail schemes it intends to support including much needed clarity on the funding of these projects and an accompanying plan for delivery.”
A Heathrow spokesman said this morning: “We don’t recognise the 82 miles or the £15 quoted.
“We have an ambitious plan to treble our rail capacity by 2040 and enable 30 million more passengers to use public transport.
“If needed, we have various options to apply emissions based charging to vehicles travelling to and from the airport – for example, using drop off charges based on vehicle emissions as other UK airports do – which could be another way to reduce road journeys and support our sustainable transport plans.”
No 3rd Runway Coalition response:
Reacting to the news that Heathrow customers face a £15 car charge in order to tackle emissions targets, Robert Barnstone, Coordinator of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:
“This latest additional Heathrow charge simply highlights a critical problem with expanding Heathrow: pollution targets would be so difficult to meet that the airport will have to whack travellers and families with a £15 charge for accessing the airport by car.
“Public transport use must be strongly encouraged at every opportunity, but if a hefty cost has to be imposed for driving to Heathrow, it just acts as evidence that expansion will mean an even pricier airport in reality”