Delegates at the Place West London event focussed on Heathrow 2.0 – the Airport’s new sustainability strategy – heard how it will open huge opportunity up for West London.
Aviation faces a number of vast, complex and inter-related challenges – not least social, environmental and economic. Heathrow say they need to square sector growth and expanding demand with their role as a good neighbour and a sustainability progressive.
Heathrow 2.0 seeks to put Heathrow at the forefront of the change that aviation must go through – to become sustainable. Just as Volvo have announced their discontinuation of manufacturing of internal combustion engines, and a swtch to hybrid or fully electric cars, the aviation industry recognises it has to act on its environmental impact.
Making flying clean and quiet, and reducing the impact of airports on their surroundings, could be a huge boom industry in the next twenty years, as airports the World over look to reduce their carbon footprint and noise impact.
Heathrow is seeking to put itself at the cutting edge – and to act as a test pad for new ideas, processes, and technologies. This is a massive opportunity for West London – can we take this opportunity to make our region a World centre of sustainable aviation?
It is a genuine opportunity for the region to develop a sustainable, global, competitive advantage, and produce thousands of high skill high value jobs.
For this to be achieved, West London must engage with the Airport on its Centre of Excellence, which was presented in detail for the first time at the event.
The Airport know there will be gaps in knowledge and expertise – things we can’t be sure about – new audacious goals requiring an injection of fresh ideas; a revisiting of valiant near-misses past; untried or untested collaborations.
They recognise that they can’t have all the answers, and have set up the Centre of Excellence to seek out radical new ideas and innovation. The challenge, and the opportunity, is tantalisingly complex – local and global; social and environmental; landside and airside.
The Centre of Excellence aims to be an innovation centre, a think tank, and a test bed. It hopes to be a sustainability accelerator, research hub, and incubator, as well as a community resource.
It exists, ambitioulsy, to help accelerate the era of sustainable flight, and will progress research and innovation, embracing collaboration as it builds momentum toward a collective vision and realisation of a sustainable future for airports and the aviation sector.
Heathrow Airport is Britain’s gateway to the world. For the Centre, it is an innovation testbed of endless possibility. West London must engage, and fast.