Heathrow aims to become one of the world’s first major aviation hubs to become carbon neutral for its infrastructure and the first to target zero carbon by the mid-2030s.
The London hub has reduced carbon emissions from airport buildings and infrastructure by 93% compared to 1990 following £100 million spent on energy efficiency .
The remaining 7% of airport infrastructure emissions – including those from heating – will now be offset through certified tree planting projects in Indonesia and Mexico.
Offsetting will be an interim measure to reduce carbon emissions while Heathrow works towards becoming a zero carbon airport.
The airport is to invest £1.8 million this year to kick-start UK nature-based carbon saving projects.
“Heathrow can’t create this saving alone though, and will use its position to encourage others within the aviation industry to invest in similar initiatives up and down the country,” the airport said.
“With the right support and incentives from the industry and government, Britain will be able to become a world leader in green aviation technologies, benefiting both the environment and the economy.”
A new native woodland creation project at Ledmore near Ullapool in Scotland will be the first to receive new funding from Heathrow.
The project will cover 87.4 hectares and help explore opportunities for woodlands to deliver effective UK carbon offsetting alongside a range of other benefits including biodiversity and better soil and water quality.
An action plan – called ‘Target Net-Zero’ – will be unveiled by the airport next week that backs the UK aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It will outline how the London hub will decarbonise the airport’s infrastructure and play a role in supporting the entire UK aviation industry to get to net-zero carbon emissions by working with its partners on the ground and in the air, to develop sustainable aviation fuels and electric aircraft.
Heathrow will also be focused on ramping up improvements to sustainable transport links and ensuring it meets its target to transition all of Heathrow’s cars and small vans to electric and plug-in hybrid.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Making our infrastructure entirely carbon neutral is a significant milestone and a testament to the determination of our airport to help spearhead a new era of sustainable aviation.
“Our sights are now set on working with the global aviation industry to deliver on net-zero by 2050, at the latest. We can and will cut the environmental cost of flying whilst keeping the benefits of travel for future generations.”
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