Heathrow has unveiled plans to charge polluting vehicles accessing the airport, with a wider charge for all vehicles also planned to coincide with the opening of the new runway.

The proposal for a new Ultra Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ) would see charges of £10-15 levied against older, more polluting cars and private hire vehicles by 2022, with revenues helping to fund new measures to improve sustainable transport modes and public transport access.

Heathrow said that the world’s first airport ULEZ would introduce “minimum vehicle emissions standards identical to the London Mayor’s ULEZ for passenger cars and private hire vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas at any of Heathrow’s terminals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”.

The ULEZ would then transition “over time with the opening of the new runway from 2026”, into a Vehicle Access Charge (VAC) on all passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles entering car parks or drop-off areas.

The airport said that initial proposals “could set the charge figure between £10-15, in line with charges set by the Mayor in central London”.

More details are expected to be confirmed when Heathrow submits its final Development Consent Order (DCO), following public consultation.

A three-month statutory consultation will launch on June 18, with Heathrow planning to campaign nationwide in newspapers, billboards, online and even on music streaming platform Spotify.

Heathrow also hopes to reduce vehicle use through a new targeted Colleague Strategy which launches next week, focusing on “significantly reducing the number of colleague car trips through a mixture of incentives, restraints on parking, and investment in new public transport links”.

Commenting on the news Former London Deputy Mayor for Transport and newly appointed Chair of independent Heathrow Transport Area Forum, Val Shawcross, said:

“This is a significant step change in Heathrow’s effort to clean up local ground level air pollution by shifting people into the cleanest modes of transport.

“I have never pulled my punches talking to the airport about local air quality and I look forward to continuing to hold Heathrow to account in my new independent role as Chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum.”