The go-ahead to install over 135 more chargers for at least another 260 electric vehicles has been given at Heathrow to help shift greater numbers of vehicles used on and around the airport to electric power, signalling, say the airport, s a greater ambition to ‘turn Heathrow electric’.
Heathrow has also published updates to the three “blueprints” published in the past year, which set out a series of action plans and milestones for how the airport aims to reduce noise, emissions and traffic.
Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye said: “2015 saw us commit to a series of action plans that will make us a better neighbour, by reducing noise, emissions and traffic. Today we are providing an update on the very significant progress already being made, thanks to the commitment of the airport community. But we know that we need to do more, and in the coming months will set out even more ambitious plans that will make an expanded Heathrow the most environmentally responsible hub airport in the world.”
The reports provide a rating against each of the commitments published in the blueprints along. Heathrow say they show that 70% of the promises have been put into action and the remaining 30% are in progress with none not started.
Included in the updates are plans to reduce noise by applying low-noise technology to a much larger proportion of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft which currently make up about 50% of all traffic movements at Heathrow. Low-noise technology is currently fitted onto only a small proportion of the Airbus A320 fleet, representing about 5% of air traffic movements. The airport say in the next 18 months, retrofitting will be accelerated considerably by airlines, thus reducing noise significantly
The airport also says that its use of penalties on airlines using older, noisier aircraft are working, and that Heathrow is on track to become the first large European airport to be free of the oldest and noisiest classification of aircraft – known as ‘Chapter 3’.
They also say their Fly Quiet Programme League – which ranks airlines according to their noise performance – has produced a substantial increase in airlines’ use of the quiet flight procedure Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), which reduces noise by using less thrust and staying higher for longer. Polish operator LOT has almost doubled its use of CDA to 98 per cent.
Heathrow says it will incentivise airlines to use cleaner aircraft too – environmental landing charges for airlines will double from January 2017 – from £8.57 per kg of NOx emitted to £16.51 per kg.
Heathrow will invest £16.2m in 2016 to upgrade and extend coverage of pre-conditioned air units and electric power provision at gates to reduce aircraft emissions on parking stands.
The airport is working on surface traffic too. They say road traffic to the airport has remained static whilst overall passenger numbers have increased. In 1991 40.5 million passengers created a total of 45.4 million car trips but in 2014, passenger numbers totalled 73.4 million creating 46.7 million car trips that year.
Also. a new £1 million local transport fund was created by Heathrow to develop and deliver local authority transport projects to reduce congestion – such as supporting bus routes.