Anger at Edinburgh Airport £1 drop-off levy

Image caption, Edinburgh Airport will begin charging a £1 drop-off fee for car users

Edinburgh Airport is to introduce a £1 charge for dropping off passengers at its terminal building by private car.

The airport's operators said the fee would be payable by motorists from October.

A free drop-off zone will be retained at the long-stay car park area of the airport, from where passengers will be able to catch a bus to the terminal.

The airport is currently Scotland's busiest, attracting more than nine million passengers a year.

The levy will be enforced by barriers at a new drop-off zone on the ground-floor of the airport's multi-storey car park.

The plate recognition scheme will work by charging drivers as they leave the area, with initial charges pegged at £1 for 10 minutes.

Construction on the new drop-off zone is due to begin later this month.

Edinburgh is the second airport within 24 hours to announce the charge after Belfast International said it would implement a similar £1 fee.

Tory Lothians MSP Gavin Brown has criticised the decision, calling it "opportunistic".

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "I think it's a terrible decision. A £1 charge just for dropping off a friend or relative at the airport is plain mean.

"It seems to me a particularly mean way of extracting money from the motorist."

'Commercial and realistic'

However, Gordon Dewar, managing director of Edinburgh Airport, said that as a commercial entity, the airport needed to balance providing the best facilities for passengers with attracting new business.

The airport authority spent £4m last year updating its forecourt.

He added: "We do this without subsidy or public money whilst remaining commercial and realistic with our airport customers.

"We do not agree with Gavin Brown's opposition to us providing better facilities for our passengers and reducing the costs for airlines to add more destinations and flights to the growing portfolio at Edinburgh.

"Every other mode of transport contributes to drop-off close to our terminal and we believe that drivers should be no different.

"As responsible airport managers, we have to make difficult decision about how best to balance the needs of Edinburgh."

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said there were no plans to bring in a similar scheme.

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