London City Airport aims to become capital’s first net zero airport

London City Airport today unveiled a plan to become the capital’s first net zero airport by 2030.

In a new sustainability roadmap published on Wednesday, the city-centre airport details how it aims not just to decarbonise the airport, but “help East London grow and prosper”.

Aims include phasing out gas for heating its buildings, ensuring all airport vehicles are switched to electric ones, becoming a zero waste venue and banning all single-use plastics.

A statement from airport management adds that it is also “working closely with industry partners, and UK government, to understand how the airport can facilitate low- to zero-emission flights as technology comes on stream”.

London City also announced the addition of an on-site skills and training centre, as well as plans for all partners of the airport to pay the London Living Wage by 2026.

Research by the airport in 2019 found that 73 per cent of passengers already accessed the east London international airport using public and sustainable transport – the highest percentage of any UK airport.

By 2030, London City wants to increase this to 80 per cent.

The airport’s CEO, Robert Sinclair, said: “As we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it is imperative that we rebuild in the right way.

“We hope all of our partners and stakeholders will welcome our ambition, not just to decarbonise, but to play a meaningful role locally, right across the ESG agenda.

“Given our size, location and the nature of our route network and operation, we are ideally placed to help shape the next phase of aviation innovation in London, establishing it as a global leader of the net zero economy, supporting innovation, research and development and creating jobs for the amazing young people of this city.”

While several airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, have unveiled plans to decarbonise and contribute more to their communities by 2030, critics of the aviation industry say restricting airport expansion and new flights would be more effective.

On Monday a report from Element Energy found that the UK government’s “Jet Zero” plans to decarbonise the UK’s airspace did not go far enough in planning for reductions.

Cait Hewitt of the Aviation Environment Federation said: “This new report gives a damning appraisal of the level of risk in every aspect of the current approach to aviation emissions and highlights the need for action now, including ruling out airport expansion and limiting demand, to ensure aviation makes a fair contribution to cutting emissions by 2035 and is on a pathway to net zero by 2050.”

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