UK airlines have hit back at government plans to charge motorists travelling to Heathrow up to £15 in an attempt to reduce polluting traffic around the airport.

Airports Commission chairman, Howard Davies, has suggested a charge of £10 to £15 could be brought in to encourage more travellers to use public transport to get to Heathrow.

Drivers already face short stay car park fees of £3.80 for up to 30 minutes and rising to £11.30 for a two hour stay.

The move is also backed by transport secretary Chris Grayling and chairman of the National Infrastructure Committee.

But the body representing airlines including British Airways and Easyjet said the ‘H-Charge’ is just “another tax on air travel”.

“When we looked at this, congestion charging to the airport was something that people regarded as pretty extreme,” said Davies.

“But I think now, the congestion charge is hardly controversial in London anymore.”

The former director of the London School of Economics added: “The idea that you should have to pay, you know, ten quid or 15 quid if you really want to drive to the airport and maybe you pay more if you are in a diesel car, I think that is a perfectly politically acceptable thing.”

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