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APH.com and University of Surrey reveal UK airports leading the net-zero revolution

Manchester International Airport

When it comes to reaching net-zero, Manchester Airport was found to have the most ambitious goal of the five stating a deadline of 2038, whereas London Luton and London Gatwick have committed to 2040 and London Heathrow by 2050.

Aviation currently accounts for around 2.5% of global human-induced carbon emissions with airports’ own operations contributing to approximately 2% of this total.*. This is expected to increase as air traffic grows and many UK airports are introducing ways to make ground operations more sustainable, with ambitious commitments to become ‘carbon neutral’ by as early as 2033.

Research conducted by the University of Surrey in partnership with award-winning airport parking company Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) has revealed how much UK airports are doing in terms of ‘net zero’ and what the future of ‘sustainable airports’ look like, providing a comprehensive report.

The study compares the UK’s five largest airports including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, London Luton and Manchester Airport detailing their emissions commitments, ways of limiting noise, improving air quality as well as waste and water management.

When it comes to reaching net-zero, Manchester Airport was found to have the most ambitious goal of the five stating a deadline of 2038, whereas London Luton and London Gatwick have committed to 2040 and London Heathrow by 2050.

To reach these targets, a range of initiatives are being put in place such as generating renewable energy with Gatwick Airport one of the first in the world to have an on-site waste processing and conversion facility. London Heathrow reported zero emissions for grid electricity in 2022 through a Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) tariff and Manchester Airport is planning on its airport structure relying entirely on renewable energy by 2030.

Air quality and noise were also found to be important factors with London Stansted and Manchester Airport both adopting noise-efficient ‘continuous climb’ and ‘continuous descent’ approaches to minimise the impact on local communities. All airports have plans to eventually replace ground transportation vehicles with zero or ultra-low emissions vehicles stating deadlines of 2030.

Nick Caunter, Managing Director of Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) said, “It’s clear to see the demand for travelling abroad will continue to increase for both leisure and business. We thought it worthwhile to take an in-depth look at what UK airports are doing in terms of reducing their environmental impact and partnered with the University of Surrey to shine a spotlight on their goals. Travel is essential both culturally and economically, and it’s encouraging to see from our report the investments UK airports are putting towards reaching their targets.”

Dr Nadine Itani, Lecturer in Air Transport Management and Joint Programme Leader for MSc Air Transport Management at University of Surrey said, “Airports are at the forefront of the net-zero revolution. As key transportation hubs, airports have the potential to lead by example, to reduce their carbon footprint and inspire stakeholders within the aviation ecosystem to commit to a greener future. The partnership with APH.com has been an exciting opportunity to showcase just how much work is being carried out in and around UK airports to become more sustainable and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.”

 

* Reference Airports Council International (ACI) and Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2021)

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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