The biggest airport of London and Europe, London Heathrow Airport, wants to increase taxes on travellers coming to the airport by car. 

If it’s up to London Heathrow Airport, people that drive their (older) car to the airport to take a flight and park their car in one of the carparks next to the airport and if their vehicle fails to meet the same minimum emissions standards as applied with ULEZ, they will have to pay up to £15 per day. Diesel cars registered before September 2015 and petrol cars that pre-date 2005 will be most affected.

With a view to expansion, the airport has announced the creation of a new ultra-low emission zone ULEZ where drivers have to pay this tax. The ULEZ is comparable to the ULEZ in the city of London according to Heathrow Airport, where people are already paying a lot of taxes to drive their car through the city. This extra tax does not only apply to people who take a flight themselves, but also to car drivers who drop someone off just in front of the entrance.

The tax would be introduced in 2022 and would be active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is certain that the ultra-low emission zone will contain the drop-off areas and entrances of any terminal at the airport.

Heathrow Airport is already covered by the London low emission zone, which already affects buses and other vehicles, so these vehicles wil not be subject to the ULEZ of the airport. Black taxis will also be exempt from the tax.

With this tax, Heathrow hopes to discourage people from taking the car to the airport and using public transport to a greater extent. This is not the only reason why they want to introduce this emission tax. There’s a lot of resistance to Heathrow’s expansion plans especially the third runway. Residents are afraid of the deterioration of air quality as a result of the increase in air traffic. Airport bosses said the increase of air traffic because of the third runway “will not come at an unacceptable environmental cost”.

The construction works of the expansion could begin in 2021, with the third runway being operational by 2026.

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