The owners of Heathrow airport say imposing a new congestion charge on vehicles picking up or dropping off passengers could help fund major improvements to public transport and air quality.
The airport wants to build a third runway to increase capacity, a proposal opposed by many local residents and London politicians.
In a submission to the Government’s airports commission later this month, Heathrow’s owners will suggest the charge would ensure road traffic didn’t increase even the new runway was built.
They’ll also suggest it will “future-proof Heathrow’s ability to meet air quality limits”.
Under Heathrow’s proposals the charge would be introduced once Crossrail and an upgrade to the Piccadilly Line are complete to ensure passengers could travel to and from the airport by public transport.
Heathrow Head of Surface Access Simon Earles said: “During our recent community consultation people raised concerns about the impact of a new runway on traffic congestion and air pollution.
“Once improvements to public transport to the airport have been delivered we believe there may be a case for a congestion charge for passengers travelling to the airport to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and raise money for further public transport improvements.
“The idea is at an early stage and we will of course consult on these plans at the appropriate time.”
Darren Johnson, a Green member of the London Assembly, said his party had been calling for a congestion charge at the airport “for many years”.
He added: “Traffic around Heathrow has led to appalling levels of air pollution and we need measures to discourage car use and get more people using public transport.”
A Green party amendment to City Hall’s 2012 budget suggested such a charge could raise in the region of £20m annually.