Heathrow airport will tell the Airports Commission later this month that there “may be a case for introducing a congestion charge” for people travelling to the airport.
Heathrow said a charge would reduce traffic congestion levels and improve air quality for local communities, while raising money for public transport improvements.
Heathrow is currently failing to meet air quality standards and is under pressure to cut emissions and minimise traffic on surrounding roads.
Head of surface access Simon Earles said during a recent public consultation concerns were raised 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,” he said. “The idea is at an early stage and we will of course consult on these plans at the appropriate time.”
Heathrow said if it won the backing to build a third runway then the scheme would help ensure there are no more airport related vehicles on the road than there are today. The Airports Commission, headed by former CBI boss Sir Howard Davies, is currently looking at two possible expansion options at Heathrow, as well as a possible second runway at Gatwick.
Heathrow said a congestion charge would help to “discourage drop off and pick up” and would apply for those travelling to the airport – not to surrounding roads like the A30, A4 or M4.
There could be exemptions to the congestion charge for the greenest vehicles, although this would subject to future consultation.
Heathrow also confirmed funds could be put aside 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 announced this week (May 8) that development director John Holland-Kaye will replace Colin Matthews as CEO when he steps down from his role later this month.