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Gatwick’s carbon neutral commitment excludes 99% of emissions

Gatwick Airport announced today its participation in a global renewable electricity alliance designed to generate increased demand for renewable electricity, alongside plans to become ‘carbon neutral’ by the spring.

Gatwick will be the first UK airport to join the RE100 alliance, led by the Climate Group, which sets 100% renewable energy targets for its 87 members. Whilst this is a progressive step which should not be overlooked, it is important to note that this does not account for the emissions from the aircraft using the airport.

Deputy Director of AEF, Cait Hewitt, said:

“We welcome initiatives that will increase the use of renewable electricity in the UK. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Gatwick’s commitment extends only to the airport infrastructure and vehicles. The planes that fly out of Gatwick are still powered by fossil fuels and will remain so for decades to come.

Around 99% of the emissions associated with Gatwick are not from the airport itself but from the aircraft that use it*. If you take into account emissions from departing planes, Gatwick has the second highest level of CO2 emissions of any airport in the UK, and this level is set to grow even though the airport was not the Government’s preferred choice for a new runway in the South East.”