Drivers could be charged to drop off passengers at Heathrow Airport if it gains a third runway under plans aimed at limiting the likely increase in traffic by including the congestion charge in all roads leading too Heathrow. Heathrow bosses are drawing up plans for a congestion charge on roads leading to the airport which would likely be introduced in 2030 if the airport is expanded. The move is designed to ensure the extra flight capacity would not be accompanied by an increase in passengers travelling to the airport by car by encouraging a greater proportion to use public transport instead. A spokesman said the congestion charge would only cover airport roads, not major routes such as the M25, M4, A30 and A4, and would only be implemented after public transport links in the area have been improved. A decision on cost would be taken closer to the time but exemptions could be considered for the lowest-emission cars, taxis and local residents and funds could be ring-fenced for rail, London Underground and road improvements.
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She added that the congestion charge was designed “primarily” to mitigate congestion and pollution that could result from a third runway after 2030, but added that it could be introduced earlier “if traffic needs attention in the nearer term”. The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, is currently weighing up options for an additional runway either at Heathrow or Gatwick Airport, while continuing to consider the Mayor of London’s proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, dubbed “Boris Island”. The team behind the Heathrow proposal will tell the commission in their final submission next week that the congestion charge could be needed to manage traffic and air quality by increasing
usage of public transport following a variety of rail improvements including Crossrail in the coming years.
Heathrow may introduce Congestion Charge Heathrow will also shift the site of its proposed third runway south, closer to the A4, to avoid the need for major works on the junction of the M25 and M4 which has been heavily criticised by campaigners, according to the Evening Standard. A spokesman for the airport confirmed that the plans would involve building a 600m tunnel beneath the M25 separating airport traffic from vehicles remaining on the motorways. Simon Earles, Heathrow’s Head of Surface Access, said: “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.” Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC foundation, said: “Given the enormous growth potential at Heathrow, it seems right the owner does something to limit the impact of thecongestion charge and pollution on those living around the airport. Better still if the money is spent fixing potholes on local roads, as is one of the options temptingly being suggested.”
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “It was only a matter of time before this Heathrow bombshell was dropped. “On the eve of final submissions to the Airports Commission, Heathrow have been forced to announce unprecedented measures to tackle one of the huge environmental challenges of their expansion plans.” Daniel Moylan, aviation adviser to Mr Johnson, 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.”
Published on May 13, 2014
Drivers could be charged to drop off passengers at Heathrow Airport if it gains a third runway under plans aimed at limiting the likely incr...