The Group, whose airports include Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth – 48.5 million passangers each year – has reduced net carbon emissions by 15.8% across all sites; from 23,387 tonnes in 2013/14 to 19,690 in 2014/15.

MAG’s CSR director Neil Robinson said: “The figures we are releasing today demonstrate the powerful role that airports across the country play in generating wider social and economic benefit for their local communities and the UK economy.

“In a year when we have transported record numbers of passengers, we have also managed to significantly reduce our environmental impact.”

The Group’s 2014/15 CSR report, released today (7 October), highlights that East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports are meeting the group’s carbon-neutral goal, and by the end of 2016 it is expected that Manchester Airport will also be carbon-neutral.

Currently, all MAG airports are also certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standards. MAG has also been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon management at all four airports.

The report explains how one of the methods to achieve carbon neutrality at Manchester Airport is through the simple adoption of LED lighting installations. The report claims that the Airport can still reach required lighting levels while simultaneously saving 60% on energy consumption.

East Midlands Airport, which is currently undergoing a £12m terminal redevelopment, will soon benefit from its own LED lighting solutions to further reduce the Group’s energy waste.

In other areas of sustainability, MAG’s CSR report also reveals that 82% of its airport waste is now diverted from landfill – a 9% increase from 2013. 

Green future

Plans have also been put in place to produce energy needs from onsite generation of renewable fuels. While MAG will continue to procure energy from the UK power network, biomass and combined heat and power systems are currently being reviewed. In previous years, MAG has installed two wind turbines at East Midlands and 323 PV panels at Bournemouth.

MAG’s efforts come just weeks after Luton Airport announced it had cut electricity-associated emissions by 34 tonnes in the past year – part of the reason it was accredited with the internationally-recognised Energy Management Standard ISO50001.

Heathrow Airport has also committed to a further 34% reduction in CO2 emissions from energy used in buildings by 2020. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye recently said:  “Heathrow’s ambition is to be the world’s most responsible hub airport and to do that we must find innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges, including those around carbon.”

These environmental pledges by UK airports comes at a vital time for the sector. A recent report from the New Climate Economy warned global carbon emissions from the world’s aviation and maritime sectors could rise 250% by 2050 without tangible government targets.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has also warned that, despite a 45% reduction in average aircraft fuel burn in the last 40 years, the aviation industry is still around 12 years behind efficiency targets set by the UN’s aviation body.

Matt Mace

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