Fleet News

Heathrow toll charge plan denied

KEN Livingstone has no plans for a £5 toll to drive into Heathrow his office has claimed, despite comments made by the London Mayor to the contrary last week.

National newspapers claimed last week that the Mayor said a £5 toll could be in place in early 2005, and that as Heathrow was predominately a business airport, drivers could afford it.

Fleet NewsNet reported on Livingstone's interest in a charge for drivers going into Heathrow in May 2002, although it was reported then that no research had yet been done into the scheme.

But a spokesman in the Mayor's office said there was no change in the policy. No studies had been commissioned to look at the scheme, which would see up to 45,000 passengers a day charged, helping fund the Crossrail project, which aims to build a new underground rail link between Heathrow and the City. Previously, Livingstone's preferred next toll scheme was to extend the congestion charge west into Kensington, Chelsea and the rest of Westminster.

However, he told the Media Correspondent's Association that Heathrow was likely to come first because improving public transport in West London was likely to take longer than originally thought, pushing the date back to Christmas 2005.

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