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Heathrow Airport will get a new runway by late 2020s

Heathrow promises carbon neutrality by mid-2030s

Image credit: Tony Hisgett

Heathrow has said it will become a zero-carbon airport by the mid-2030s and has already achieved the goal for its infrastructure.

The UK’s largest airport, located near London, has invested over £100m to improve its energy efficiency.

As well as generating and purchasing renewable energy, Heathrow has reduced carbon emissions from airport buildings and infrastructure by 93 per cent, compared to 1990.

The remaining seven per cent of airport infrastructure emissions – including those from heating – will now be offset through tree planting projects in Indonesia and Mexico, certified through the Verified Carbon Standard which the airport described as an “interim measure”.

This year, Heathrow will increase investment for sustainable transport links and ensure it meets its target to transition all of its cars and small vans, to electric and plug-in hybrids.

The airport – which is the size of a small city – added it was “one of the world’s first” major aviation hubs to become carbon neutral.

Earlier this month, the UK’s aviation industry pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

While other forms of transport offer a relatively straightforward path to carbon neutrality, sustainable aviation is proving difficult with current technologies.

While some firms are developing electric planes which may be effective for short haul flights, current battery technology is unable to store the amount of energy needed for long haul journeys.

CO2 emissions from airlines have been rising in recent years and globally, aviation is making up an increasingly large part of overall emissions from transport.

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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