Heathrow plans to introduce a £5 fee for vehicles to use its terminal forecourts.

The airport proposes to start charging a Forecourt Access Charge (FAC) from late 2021 “to prevent a car-led Covid-19 recovery”.

The charge will apply to all vehicles entering Heathrow’s terminal forecourts, but some exceptions may apply for blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.

Passengers already have the alternative option of being dropped off in our long stay car parks today and travelling to terminals via a free shuttle bus.

Heathrow said it has reviewed its investments after the pandemic “sent shock waves through the aviation sector”, leading to it incurring £1.5 billion losses and an 80% reduction in passenger numbers, this year.

A review has led it to “recalibrate” spending on surface access projects “so that environmental impacts will continue to be reduced” while protecting jobs.

Heathrow expects fewer cars on the road due to reduced passenger demand, but said concerns around using public transport due to the pandemic “present a new challenge”.

Plans for a Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone (HULEZ), announced in May 2019, will be replaced and future emission-reduction schemes may be considered.

Revenue raised through the FAC will be used to offset airport costs, including future sustainable transport investments, as well as lowering the charges for passengers.

Consultation has begun with stakeholders, with details expected to be finalised in 2021.

Heathrow’s director of surface access, Tony Caccavone, said: “The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have been severe, especially on the aviation industry with Heathrow passenger numbers down over 80% and the business losing £5 million a day.

“These changes will help us to protect the business financially and save jobs in the short term, whilst also allowing us to stay on track for our long-term goals of providing safe, sustainable and affordable transport options into the future.”