Heathrow airport has announced that is has achieved carbon neutral status for its infrastructure and aims to become zero-carbon by the mid-2030s.
The west London hub said it spent more than £100 million on improving its energy efficiency, as well as generating and using renewable energy, in order to reduce carbon emissions by 93 per cent since 1990.
It will now offset the remaining seven per cent of airport infrastructure emissions by planting trees in Indonesia and Mexico.
The airport described offsetting as an “interim measure” while it works towards reducing its carbon emissions to zero by the mid-2030s.
To do this, it will introduce measures such as boosting sustainable transport links and transitioning all its cars to electric and plug-in hybrid models.
However, today’s announcement refers only to the emissions generated by airport buildings and infrastructure and does not take into account the environmental impact of flights.
The airport’s proposed third runway has also been criticised by climate change campaigners, who say it is “incompatible” with the government’s target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The controversial expansion was approved by the government in June 2018 but continues to draw criticism and debate.
But chief executive John Holland-Kaye said today's announcement was a “significant milestone” and said the airport was working to “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.”
Extinction Rebellion activist Alannah Travers told talkRADIO: "We welcome every step taken on the path towards a zero carbon economy, but ignoring the impact of their aviation emissions means that Heathrow's plans for carbon neutral infrastructure rin embarassingly hollow.
"We continue to encourage all decision makers to reconsider their plans for a third runway."
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