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Heathrow considers £50m-a-year congestion fund to pay for transport upgrades

Heathrow Airport will set up a £50m-a-year transport fund paid for by a ‘London-style’ congestion charge if a third runway is built.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said the charge would lead to private vehicles paying a fee of around £10 to travel to the airport.

He claimed the airport could “easily” raise more than £50m each year, with the money used to improve transport links to the airport.

“A £50m budget through emissions charging could provide a big contribution [to transport upgrades] over the coming years and this contribution could be the kind of thing that gets these projects delivered,” he said.

Some of the projects that could be partly funded by the money include the £3.25bn tunnelling of the M25, the £800m southern rail link or the £500m Heathrow rail link connecting the airport to the Great Western Main Line.

The airport is in consultation with stakeholders over details of the plan.

The comments from Mr Holland-Kaye come just weeks after Transport for London said the Airports Commission had understated the amount of money needed for improvements to transport infrastructure.

Last July, the Airports Commission estimated that a third runway would require transport upgrades totalling £5.7bn.

However, estimates from TfL claimed this figure could top £18bn, with the transport body warning of severe congestion without this level of spend.

Mr Holland-Kaye dismissed these estimates as a TfL “shopping list” of upgrades needed for the capital’s network as a whole.

The Heathrow CEO repeated his insistence that the airport could not pay for all the infrastructure needed if a third runway is approved.

Mr Holland-Kaye was speaking following Heathrow’s announcement that it would meet all of the conditions set out in last year’s Airports Commission report.

Among the proposals put forward by Heathrow was to curb night-time operations by introducing a ban on flights between 11pm and 5.30am.

The airport said it would accept a commitment from government ruling out the construction of a fourth runway at the site.

Other notable proposals included a £700m provision to fund the roll-out of noise insulation for nearby buildings and the creation of an education and skills taskforce to help train the 3,000 people needed for construction of the runway.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate called the pledges by Heathrow a “desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed”.

He said: “Heathrow’s air quality plans, for example, fail the most basic credibility test.

“You can’t promise no more cars with a third runway and at the same time propose to expand the M25 and plan to spend millions on parking.”

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