London’s Heathrow Airport is one of Europe’s largest hubs, connecting the UK and nearby countries to the rest of the world. With nearly 76 million passengers and 1.54 million metric tonnes of cargo passing through the airport each year, operating sustainably is clearly a challenge. With the UK Government’s decision last year to grant Heathrow the permission to build a third runway, this challenge will become even more pronounced.
In our Aviation Climate Solutions page, we highlighted some of the action being taken by Heathrow to reduce carbon emissions, with their emphasis on public transport links and Terminal 2’s environmental credentials. However, for Heathrow’s management, this was just the beginning. In February 2017, Heathrow Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye launched the airport’s revamped sustainability strategy – Heathrow 2.0.
The overarching aim of the strategy is to ensure that the economic benefits of the airport are maximised, whilst also reducing its environmental impact as much as possible. Through consultations with the government, academics, environmental organisations and businesses, Heathrow has put forward a collection of measures that will see these goals realised.
Firstly, to address the issues of noise and CO2 emissions, Heathrow have invested £500,000 in research and development into how these effects can be minimised, with more funding to follow. They have also put in place ambitious targets to make any growth generated by the new runway carbon neutral, as well as announcing that, from this year, the airport will be fully powered by renewable energy.
These initiatives, and many more related to noise, working conditions and community engagement mean that Heathrow is set to become one of the most sustainability-focused airports in the world.