Birmingham airport has announced a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2033, with its plan focused on operations and minimising offsets.
The airport had originally set a date for 2035, but said it “feels it needs to set an ambitious target ahead of the UK’s target of 2050, to reduce its carbon footprint further, quicker”.
Emissions at the Midlands airport have already been reduced by 33 per cent since 2013, with emissions per passenger cut by more than half despite traffic growing 40 per cent in the same period.
Birmingham airport said it “believes its biggest opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint is via on-site renewable energy generation”, but admitted it “doesn’t have all the answers yet”.
CEO Nick Barton commented: “Technology is changing at some pace and the movement to a net-zero economy itself is driving innovation across the energy and transportation industry, and we are going to take advantage of this.
“Over the next six to 12 months we will be working to revise our existing carbon management plan and develop a roadmap. This will allow us to set and prioritise genuine carbon reduction objectives rather than carbon offsetting schemes, as we see this as the latest favourable option.
“We don’t have all the answers about how we will hit this target, but we are confident that through innovation and collaboratively working with industry, government, manufacturers, on-site partners and employees, we can reach our target by 2033.”
Birmingham airport works with Sustainable Aviation, a strategy group made up of airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and air traffic service providers, to aid in the development of cleaner, quieter and “smarter” aviation.
Sustainable Aviation will be publishing its fourth Decarbonisation Roadmap soon, which will draw upon the latest evidence and expertise from across the industry.
According to the group, each new generation of aircraft is 20 per cent more efficient than the last, with aviation delivering annual fuel efficiency improvements of 1.5 per cent over the last decade.
Barton said Birmingham airport is working with airlines to reduce their emissions, including supporting the UK’s Airspace Modernisation programme – which the Committee on Climate Change has said is needed to achieve the government’s target of net zero by 2050.
He added: “We’ve already delivered changes to our airspace as part of the UK Airspace Modernisation programme and we will continue to work with the CAA, Sustainable Aviation and airline partners to help reduce aircraft emissions further.”
The airport said it will publish an updated Sustainability Strategy later this month to outline its vision to address key aspects of its environmental and community impacts over the next five years, including noise, carbon, water, waste, air quality, water, biodiversity and employment.