Heathrow congestion charge proposed


The Airports Commission is due to give its final report by summer 2015



It said it had agreed to a target of 50% of passengers accessing the airport via public transport by 2030. Currently the figure stands at 40%.

In the next few years, Crossrail will connect the airport to the City and east London; a Piccadilly Line upgrade will provide more frequent and faster journeys for London Underground passengers and there will also be improved rail transport.

'Heathrow bombshell'

Cait Hewitt, deputy director of Aviation Environment Federation, said: "The Heathrow area is an air pollution hotspot that regularly breaches limits on air quality because of emissions from both aircraft and from passengers and freight arriving at the airport by road.

"Encouraging passengers and staff to use public transport through a congestion charge is necessary now as part of a strategy to reduce today's level of pollution at the airport but it will be extremely challenging to promote this as a way of overcoming environmental objections to a third runway."

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Given the enormous growth potential at Heathrow, it seems right the owner does something to limit the impact of congestion 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."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson supports the building of new airport in the Thames Estuary and is opposed to expansion at Heathrow.

The mayor's aviation adviser Daniel Moylan said: "Heathrow have always underestimated the impact of increasing runway capacity in an area where public transport already strains at the seams and my impression is that they do not give a fig for the wellbeing of west London."

Gatwick's chief executive Stewart Wingate said the roads around Heathrow were some of the most congested in Europe.

"It was only a matter of time before this Heathrow bombshell was dropped," he said.

"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."