Heathrow Airport has confirmed it will consider the case for a congestion charge, if a third runway (pictured) is given the go-ahead.

The charge would be considered as part of a commitment to increase the proportion of passengers using public transport to access the airport to more than 50%, it said. Increasing the use of public transport to access the airport would also contribute to a separate commitment to keep CO2 emissions within UK climate change targets, it suggested.

A spokeswoman for the airport told Motortransport.co.uk, that Heathrow didn’t expect any expansion to result in an increase in airport-related traffic from current levels of around 135,000 vehicle movements a day, however.

It seems unlikely any charge will apply soon, since the third runway is not planned to be in operation until 2025 and the airport does not anticipate any need for a charge until after improvements in public transport are delivered in 2030, she said.

However, added the spokeswoman: “We cannot rule out earlier introduction if traffic needs attention in the nearer term.”

It’s not yet clear how much might be charged or exactly where, but there are likely to be some exemptions, added the spokeswoman. These are likely to include “the cleanest road vehicles”, local residents, and public transport vehicles including taxis, she said.