Airports going green: latest efforts by Heathrow and Gatwick

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Hot on the heels of Gatwick’s recognition as the first carbon neutral airport in London on May 31, London’s primary hub Heathrow airport has announced the expansion of its electric vehicle fleet.

As part of its objective to convert to an entirely electric fleet of vehicles by the end of 2020, Heathrow has so far integrated 17 all-electric Nissan LEAFs to its fleet, with 12 operated airside by teams including security and baggage and another five being used as pool cars.

The gradual switch to zero-emissions cars and vans is part of the airport's wider ambition to reduce emissions and improve local air quality.

Airport Head of Operational Strategy, Peter Leeming, remarked on the Heathrow's ambition to become a world-leading airport in reducing emissions from all sources of activity.

“A key part of this is by targeting the conversion of 100% of Heathrow’s cars and small vans to electric or plug-in hybrid by 2020, with ultra-low emission standards for all airside vehicles to follow by 2025,” he said.

“We trialled the Nissan LEAF and found it was the perfect fit for many of our teams and the types of journeys they make. The trial went seamlessly, and within months we placed our order and put the LEAF into full time service.”

In all, some 8,000 vehicles are licensed to operate airside at Heathrow. The airport is reportedly setting ambitious targets to encourage the many third parties operating vehicles around the Heathrow campus to follow suit and replace these with zero-emission, all-electric vehicles – helping to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint.

Now using 100% renewable electricity and achieving Gold Standard carbon credits in offsetting ground fuel emissions, London’s second busiest airport, Gatwick, has also announced recent environmental accolades.

Gatwick was awarded carbon neutral status by ACI Europe, which confirms that the airport completed Airport Carbon Accreditation at Level 3+ in 2016 for all ground operations emissions, including fuels, electricity and business travel, having achieved Level 3 for the preceding three years.

According to Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate, the airport has further ambitions to become the most sustainable airport in the UK.

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