Heathrow has confirmed that the £5 ‘Forecourt Access Charge’ will launch in October.
This was announced as a speculative idea late last year, impacting everyone wishing to drop off or pick up passengers by car. Taxis would be included.
On 8th March, Gatwick Airport launched its own £5 drop off fee. It was virtually certain from that point that Heathrow would follow.
At £5 Heathrow and Gatwick will have the second-highest drop off charges in the UK. Stansted remains the leader, charging £7.
The scheme will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. The charge will be paid online, via mobile phone or by an automated telephone service. ‘Blue Badge’ and emergency vehicles will be exempt.
The Forecourt Access Charge (FAC) replaces the Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone first touted in 2019 and which would have put a heavy charge on the most polluting vehicles which use the airport. Heathrow has effectively replaced a scheme with genuine environmental benefits with a simple money grab.
One option to avoid paying the fee if arriving by car will a drop off in one of the long stay car parks and travel to the terminal via a free shuttle bus.
This Daily Mail article calculates that, even with a decline in car use to Heathrow due to the fee and covid recovery, the charge could still generate £100 million per year.
You can find out more on this page of the Heathrow website.