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Carbon and climate change

Climate change is rightly accepted as one of the greatest global risks facing our planet and the challenge facing all of us is to find a way to cut our emissions of greenhouse gases. It is our aspiration to make sure that growth from our new runway, including flights, is carbon neutral.

To achieve this aspiration, we will work to support the progress being made by airlines and the International Civil Aviation Organisation on fuel efficiency and carbon emissions for example. We will also incentivise low carbon flights, establish an airports and aviation centre of excellence for sustainability and consider measures that ensure that the carbon cost of flights is paid.

As well as managing carbon associated with flights, we also need to manage carbon associated with the construction and operation of an expanded Heathrow and ensure that the expanded airport is resilient to future climate change. To help us achieve this we have developed a number of measures on which we would like your views:

Low carbon design

Carbon efficiency will be a priority in the design of our proposals. This includes designing the airfield to reduce potential taxiing distances and allow aircraft to taxi using only one engine, installing electric vehicle charging points throughout the airport and promoting and better integrating the airport with low carbon public transport.

Low carbon operations

Our target is to operate zero carbon airport infrastructure (buildings and other fixed assets) by 2050. To meet this target our strategy proposes to:

  • Use modern energy efficiency measures in any new infrastructure and build in flexibility to allow use of future technologies;
  • Improve the energy efficiency of our existing buildings, assets and other infrastructure;
  • Maximise the proportion of energy generated from on-airport or local renewable sources;
  • Purchase renewable energy from off-site sources;
  • Invest in low emission vehicles and implement procedures to reduce aircraft taxiing emissions; and,
  • Develop an approach to offsetting the carbon we continue to produce.

Building a climate resilient airport

As part of the development of our proposals we will carefully consider the risks arising from climate change. This will be considered as part of our environmental impact assessment and our flood risk assessment which will identify measures to ensure Heathrow is resilient to potential weather related disruption.

Further information

Climate change is one of the most important issues we all face. In developing our options we have set out how our plans for expanding Heathrow will manage the effects of the scheme. Further details about how we will address carbon and climate change can be found in "Our Approach to Carbon and Climate Change" via the Documents & Resources section on this site.
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