The new £5 ‘Forecourt Access Charge’ drop off fee at Heathrow Airport will now launch on 1st November.
It was originally due to launch next month but the date has slipped. 1st November does seem firm, however, and the plan is definitely not going away.
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. You can set up an account so that all visits with your vehicle are automatically charged to a stored payment card.
‘Blue Badge’ and emergency vehicles will be exempt.
The Forecourt Access Charge 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. The new £5 fee is payable by everyone regardless of the environmental impact of their vehicle.
One option to avoid paying the fee if arriving by car will a drop off in one of the long stay car parks, travelling 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 where the new 1st November date is confirmed.