Charges of up to £15 for passenger cars and private hire vehicles are to be imposed by Heathrow.

The London hub is preparing “tough new measures” to protect local air quality, reduce congestion and tackle emissions.

The world’s first airport Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is set to be introduced in 2022.

This will include minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London mayor’s ULEZ for passenger cars and private hire vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas at any of Heathrow’s terminals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Initial proposals for the Heathrow ULEZ could set the charge figure between £10-£15, in line with charges set by the mayor in central London.

The actual level of charge will be set closer to the time of the scheme opening, based on the actual user-response and conditions which prevail at that time, including the level set by the mayor for the central London ULEZ, Heathrow said today.

The Heathrow ULEZ will switch to a vehicle access charge on all cars, taxis and private hire vehicles travelling to car parks or drop-off areas.

The timing is expected to coincide with the opening of a third runway from 2026 alongside improvements to public transport access to the airport.

The goal is to tackle the main source of local air pollution – road vehicles – and reduce congestion by encouraging more people to use sustainable ways of getting to and from the airport.

Exact details for the Heathrow ULEZ will be confirmed when Heathrow submits its final application for expansion after public consultation.

Revenue generated 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, according to Heathrow.

Heathrow will now join London and Birmingham as the third UK zone to impose charges on the most polluting cars.

The London hub will be consulting on proposals for its surface access strategy in statutory consultation on the preferred masterplan for expansion which will be launched on June 18.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the economy and the environment – we must deliver for both. Today’s announcement shows that we will take the tough decisions to ensure that the airport grows responsibly.”

Former London deputy Mayor for transport and newly appointed chair of independent Heathrow Transport Area Forum, Val Shawcross, said: “This is a significant step change in Heathrow’s effort to clean up local ground level air pollution by shifting people into the cleanest modes of transport.

“I have never pulled my punches talking to the airport about local air quality and I look forward to continuing to hold Heathrow to account.”

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