Drivers using the UK’s biggest airport, Heathrow, face an additional £36 in travel costs due to Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and drop-off charges, according to a report by the Automobile Association (AA). The report, released on Tuesday, warned that late-summer holidaymakers may be unaware of the ULEZ charges for driving to the airport in older cars.
The ULEZ covers four million people, or 44 percent of London’s population, and requires vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards to pay a daily charge of £12.50 or face fines. The scheme currently covers the areas within London’s North and South Circular roads, but will expand to the whole of Greater London on August 29, 2023.
The AA estimated that more than 107,000 cars, not including private hire vehicles, drive to the airport each day, and at least 10,000 cars face extra ULEZ charges. With a daily access charge of £12.50 and the likelihood of cars dropping off and picking up on separate days or parking for more than one day, the cost of using Heathrow airport will be an additional £25 for those with older cars.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan claims his city’s air pollution-cutting scheme is needed as each year 4,000 Londoners die prematurely due to long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs. To avoid the ULEZ fee, diesel vehicles must be Euro 6 standard, which generally covers those registered from 2016. A delivery van driver or tradesperson entering the zone in an older van every working day will rack up more than £3,100 a year in charges. Drivers who fail to pay face a £160 penalty each day, which is halved if paid within a fortnight.
Five Conservative-led councils have started a legal challenge over Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand the scheme. They are challenging the ULEZ expansion in the High Court on the grounds that “relevant statutory requirements” were not complied with, expected compliance rates in outer London were not considered, and the proposed scrappage scheme was not consulted on. A spokesman for the mayor said it would oppose “any challenge to this vital scheme.”
The Mayor of London’s office told The Epoch Times they are keen to work with Heathrow to identify what more could be done to support the transition to the Greater London ULEZ for their workforce and visitors alike, and will be seeking a meeting with their Chief Executive to discuss this further.