Public to have their say on Heathrow Airport expansion

Heathrow Airport ULEZ planned

Heathrow has launched a 12-week consultation to give people the chance to provide feedback on its plans for future expansion.

The plan includes a new runway, rerouting the M25 through a tunnel, diverting rivers and moving roads. The public consultation is open until 13 September 2019.

People will also be asked to provide feedback on a proposed £15 charge for driving to Heathrow Airport as part of ‘tough new measures’ designed to reduce emissions and cut congestion.

The plans, which include the world’s first airport Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), would include a Vehicle Access Charge (VAC) for all cars and taxis entering Heathrow Airport. 

Minimum emissions standards would be introduced for vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas at all terminals, but the ULEZ will transition into a VAC to coincide with the opening of the new runway from 2026.

Heathrow says the ULEZ will be identical to the London Mayor’s ULEZ and charges will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ULEZ emissions numbers

It means that petrol cars that fail to meet Euro 4 emissions standards and diesel cars that fail to meet Euro 6 standards will be charged to enter the Heathrow ULEZ. Taxis will be exempt from the ULEZ charge, but will be subject to the VAC when it is introduced.

The airport is powered by renewable electricity and aims to be carbon neutral by 2020, but is under pressure to curb pollution ahead of the opening of the third runway.

Aircraft taking off and landing produced 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017, up 4.6 percent on 2015.

Meanwhile, emissions from passengers getting to and from Heathrow fell by 9.8 percent to 514,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2015 and 2017.

‘A disaster for London’

Heavy traffic on the M25 near Heathrow

Val Shawcross, chair of the Heathrow Airport Transport Forum, told the Financial Times: “If Heathrow expanded without tackling issues like air quality, public transport growth, active transport . . . it would be a disaster for London.”

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.”

The precise details of the Heathrow ULEZ – including the proposed charges – will be confirmed when the airport submits its final Development Consent Order (DCO) application for expansion after public consultation.

Details of the Heathrow public consultation can be found here