Heathrow to introduce a ULEZ zone

The clean-up operation of London’s air has quite quickly become one of the biggest initiatives the Mayor of London has implemented to date. With phased enforcements in full swing, it looks as though the UK’s busiest airport is now taking a leaf out of the same book.

ULEZ was introduced to help educate people on the severity of air pollution and climate change by eliminating the usage of harmful toxins produced by many older vehicles in built up and busy areas such as the Capital. With so many charges already inflicted upon drivers, is this a step too far?


Heathrow Airport, situated in the greater (West) London area is one of the busiest airports in the world with over 200,000 passengers travelling in and out every day, not to mention the tens of thousands of staff and crew that work within the 1,227 hectares. In a bid to be part of the movement, Heathrow airport have decided to support London’s clean air initiative by targeting older, high-polluting cars and private hire vehicles to be charged every time they enter the airport space. This initiative is set to be actioned by 2022, after which a plan to charge ALL passenger cars, taxis and private hire vehicles entering the airport will be imposed.

For now Heathrow are looking to use exactly the same criteria as London’s ULEZ, targeting pre- Euro 4 petrol and pre-Euro 6 diesel vehicles. Whilst Taxis and PHV’s offer a door to door service, without which the airport simply wouldn’t be able to function, they have initially decided to offer Taxis an exemption yet charges PHV’s. This seems grossly unfair but again, Heathrow will simply argue they are taking the regulator TFL’s lead. TFL has failed spectacularly in their ULEZ implementation as it is wholly unfair on PHV’s, relied on by huge numbers of the public including vulnerable and differently abled persons.

With charges expected to be as high as £15 for a single drop off or pick up, this effort could become incredibly restrictive for PHV driver’s with bookings to either drop to our pick up from Heathrow. How will the market react? Will this charge be pushed to the end user being the travelling customer or will drivers be expected to swallow the charge?

“It is a paradox which is bordering on laughable to suggest that air quality is the reason for imposing a stealth tax under the guise of ‘ULEZ’ on PHV’s and drivers whilst simultaneously lobbying the government for a third runway.”

Sal Chaudhry, Managing Director of Pearl Assistance

One thing is for sure, this like the London ULEZ zone doesn’t get to the heart of the problem and not only punishes drivers who bought diesel vehicles on the advice of the Government, but also seems to breed a ‘pay to pollute’ culture which is not a long term solution to the air quality issues being faced by our Capital city.

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