Heathrow press releases

10 September, 2014

Heathrow Reducing Carbon Footprint and Managing Noise Levels, While Increasing Passenger Numbers

Aircraft flying over lake

Heathrow today welcomed the Airport Operators Association (AOA)’s report Sustainable Airports: Improving the environmental impact of the UK’s global gateways which confirmed the sustainability of UK’s airports. The report supports the growth of airports as an essential part of the country’s national economic and transport infrastructure.

On carbon emissions, the report praised successful cases such as Heathrow’s Terminal 2, innovatively designed to reduce aircraft taxi times and fuel use, and the first airport terminal to be judged and scored as ‘Excellent’ through the BRE Environmental Assessment Methodology. Sustainable measures like these have set Heathrow on course to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions from energy used in buildings by 34% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). Heathrow is also working with aviation partners through the Sustainable Aviation (SA) coalition to reduce net UK aviation carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050.

On noise near airports, the report concludes that the population size within noise contours is not only an issue for airport operators to continue to address but also requires greater consistency between aviation policy and land use planning. For its part, Heathrow has reduced both the area and the number of people affected by its noise footprint tenfold since the 1970s, despite the number of flights doubling through new landing approaches, and encouraging the use of quieter aircraft.

The report stressed the importance of increasing the UK’s air connectivity, especially in light of rising competition with foreign markets. Heathrow’s proposals to increase its capacity through a third runway will only go ahead within strict environmental limits on noise, and local air quality. The Independent Committee on Climate Change has also concluded that a 60% growth in UK air passengers is possible whilst ensuring that the UK’s legally binding carbon targets are met. A third runway at Heathrow is consistent with meeting those targets, particularly as new aircraft technology, more efficient operations, and sustainable alternative fuels help to further cut emissions.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Sustainability Director said:

“The findings of this report make it clear that Heathrow can continue to contribute to the UK’s economic growth while minimising its impact on local communities and the environment. Heathrow has published extensive details on how we can add to our airport capacity, whilst meeting both air pollution limits through new public transport options, cleaner vehicles, as well as limiting noise through new landing approaches, and working proactively with airlines.”


Notes to Editors:



For more information on the Airport Operations Association and its report, please visit http://www.aoa.org.uk/

More information on the CO2 Road Map, Sustainable Aviation, 2012 is available at www.sustainableaviation.co.uk