DRIVERS will clog up roads around Edinburgh Airport rather than pay an increased drop-off charge, it has been claimed.
Motoring chiefs said the move to triple drop-off fees for a ten-minute stay at the terminal would spark “hovering” on approach roads and lead to increased congestion.
The News revealed yesterday how a shake-up of the controversial fees – dubbed a “kiss and fly tax” – would mean drivers being forced to pay at least £3 if they take longer than five minutes to deliver passengers to the terminal.
The airport currently charges £1 for waiting ten minutes and £5 thereafter.
Drivers will also now be directed to a designated pick-up area to collect passengers arriving at the airport where charges start at £2.90 for 15 minutes, rising to £8.90 for waits of between one and two hours.
Airport chiefs said the new pick-up zone will “alleviate congestion” in the drop-off zone that was often improperly used by motorists collecting travellers from arrivals.
But Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists said the shake-up would lead to a rise in illegal parking at laybys, pavements and farm tracks around the terminal to avoid paying.
“It’s almost certain to increase hovering,” he said. “People will always try and find a way of avoiding paying for parking, particularly at an airport where you often don’t know how long you’re going to be. Flights are delayed, people have to pick up baggage, and you can soon run up a bill for 15 minutes or half an hour waiting.
“It could block entrances and access to emergency vehicles. They will find places to hover. No doubt the airport and the police will crack down on the problem in the immediate vicinity, but that will then move the problem further out.”
From Monday, a new pricing structure at the drop-off zone will see motorists charged £1 for five minutes, £3 for ten minutes and £5 after that.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “A separate entrance and exit road is available to reduce the number of drivers having to use the main terminal approach road which leads into drop-off. Both zones are covered and clearly defined.
“These changes are designed to make the drop-off facility work more efficiently. Our approach to the small number of cars that ‘hover’ around the airport has not changed and those that park illegally around the airport will be asked to move on by the police.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police carry out regular patrols of the surrounding roads around Edinburgh Airport and will ask people to move on if they are parked in areas they shouldn’t be.”