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Heathrow Airport’s £5 drop-off and taxi fee delayed to 1st November

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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.

Heathrow £5 drop-off fee 'confirmed' for October

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.

Thanks to Greg for this.

Comments (67)

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  • gordon says:

    Luckily for us this charge is not in force as of yet as we missed the turn off to bath road last week and had to go up and around the drop off point, Hopefully Won’t make the same mistake after 1st November.

    • Darko says:

      Is Bath road where the long term parkings are? How would you reach T5 from there?

  • Mike says:

    I cant see what additional value Heathrow is offering for the additional £5 charge ie what has changed better parking for drop off etc I don’t understand why taxis have to pay – surely they could get an exemption

    • TM says:

      No added value at all, just trying to recoup lost revenues

      • gordon says:

        The world over……..

      • Lady London says:

        Like their customers haven’t “lost revenues” too? It’s a scandal the regulator is even allowing this money grab in exchange for nothing on top of other increases in charges.

        Not having it reviewed alongside other charge jncreases at some important annual review meeting is probably why it’s been pushed back to November

    • John says:

      It’s a deterrent, and if the demand remains it’s free money.

  • MP says:

    I dropped off a couple of friends two weeks ago and an employee stopped by to explain the new fee. Even him was saying it was a stupid cash grab thing.

  • BJ says:

    A whole article for this little bit of a bit … folks must be pretty protective of their fivers inside the M25 🙂 Just wait until they start tinkering with the rules, rates and the time and the fivers soon turn into tenners…

    • simon says:

      Wait until it takes you longer than 10 mins to unload luggage and say your goodbyes and the charge will jump to £25 like Manchester.

      • Ken says:

        How can anyone able bodied take more than 10 minutes to unload luggage when you know you are on the clock ?
        Are you embarking on a 18th century Grand Tour ?

    • Dubious says:

      I’m all for nudges but this is a slippery slope…particularly when there are often no meaningful alternatives.

      I find it difficult to reconcile the cost versus value, particularly when you add in the existing Passenger Service Charges one must pay when departing Heathrow:

      £14.72 (Domestic)
      £19.72 (Europe)
      £42.07 (Beyond Europe, e.g. IST)

      …and compare them with the real amount one pays to the airline for the seat on the flight – the flight being the reason you were at the airport in the first place.

      It feels like the airports and tax collectors are the ones eating the airline’s lunch.

  • Peter says:

    So once you land at T3 there is no way to get out from there for free. You can’t walk, buses no longer free, drop of £5, taxi or tube paid..

    • John says:

      Shuttle bus to parking and then walk out

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        Shuttle to Purple Parking on the eastern Perimeter. Or to the parking closest to McDs near bath road. A popular spot for uber drivers to congregate. But, yeah, cash grab as it is, a £5 is nothing for the convenience

    • Memesweeper says:

      Tube to T5 and walk?

    • Dubious says:

      You’ll need to plan ahead and park up a bicycle for when you come back – granted this might not be feasible if you want to travel with more than panniers!

  • Brian says:

    Same as previously. You can get the long stay car park shuttle bus. This car park has free parking for 30 minutes. In theory it was only drop off that was free previously. Pick up wasn’t allowed.

    • John says:

      Picked up many times – they don’t want cars waiting as it blocks space for drop-offs, but it seemed to be fine for people to wait

  • CH says:

    I really think taxis should be exempt – at least black cabs (which would make the cab driver lobby happy).

    • John says:

      If you take a black cab you’re either desperate or won’t notice the difference.

      • Memesweeper says:

        It’s a very significant tax on a local taxi journey. Absolutely disproportionate.

      • CH says:

        There are many times that black cabs are the right answer, and not more expensive than, say, Addison Lee.

  • David S says:

    Can you get dropped off at the Sofitel at T5 for free ?

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