Heathrow Airport says it has cut emissions 93 per cent since 1990 and has committed to offset the remainder. As such, the airport has achieved carbon neutral status.
The firm said it has spent £100m on energy efficiency measures since 1990, plus investment in on-site generation. It also buys clean power.
However, the most up-to-date figures for residual emissions is the 27,244 tonnes worth of carbon credits the airport bought in 2018. Heathrow said it has also bought credits for 2019-21, but did not disclose figures.
The airport hopes to achieve zero emissions from its operations within the next fifteen years. To do that Heathrow will initially focus on transport, and will introduce an ultra low emissions zone in 2022. It has committed to converting all of its 400-plus service vehicles to electric power by 2030.
Commercial aviation is under significant pressure to decarbonise. It accounts for around 2.8 per cent of worldwide CO2 emissions, equivalent to 5 per cent of warming effects when damage from emissions at high altitude is accounted for. A group of British academics last year suggested all UK airports should close by 2050, unless biofuelled or electric-powered planes arrive much quicker than anticipated.
This month, Britain’s airports and airlines committed to bring UK aviation to net zero status by 2050, against a predicted doubling of passenger traffic. Next week Heathrow will detail its plans to help meet that target.
Europe’s busiest hub claims to be among the world’s first airports to secure carbon neutrality, and the first major airport to declare its zero emissions goal.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said “We can and will cut the environmental cost of flying whilst keeping the benefits of travel for future generations”.
Gatwick Airport claimed carbon neutrality through renewable energy and offsets in 2018. Birmingham Airport has committed to net zero by 2033, though frowns on offsets.
Join airport utility, sustainability and fleet managers from Birmingham and London Luton at The Energyst’s Delivering Net Zero conference and exhibition, 22-23 April at Silverstone. Register free here.