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Gatwick Slashes Carbon Emissions by 90% with Innovative Biofuel Switch

From Diesel to HVO: Gatwick's Bold Step Towards Reducing Scope 1 and 2 Emissions

In a groundbreaking move towards sustainability, London Gatwick has significantly reduced its carbon footprint by adopting Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as a substitute for diesel fuel. This innovative step has led to a dramatic cut in carbon emissions from its diesel vehicles by 90%, translating to an annual saving of over 950 tonnes of carbon emissions.

HVO, a sustainable biofuel derived from plant waste, oils, and fats, offers a greener alternative to traditional diesel. It aligns with the global push towards reducing carbon emissions and promoting environmental sustainability. London Gatwick’s fleet, comprising 300 diesel vehicles, which accounts for 85% of its total fleet, has fully transitioned to HVO. This includes critical operational vehicles such as fire engines, airside operations vehicles, and snow ploughs. Notably, the switch has not impacted the performance of these vehicles, ensuring operational efficiency and readiness, particularly for the fire engines which can respond to emergencies within three minutes.

Steve Kelso, Head of Engineering at London Gatwick, highlighted the significance of this transition, stating, “The implementation of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil to power our 300 diesel vehicles marks a significant milestone in our sustainability journey. It underscores our commitment to reducing emissions and achieving net zero for our own Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.”

This initiative is part of London Gatwick’s broader sustainability policy, the Decade of Change, which outlines the airport’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The policy includes plans to replace all vehicles with electric alternatives upon retirement, a move that further cements the airport’s dedication to sustainability.

In 2023, London Gatwick expedited its goal to achieve net zero for its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030, a decade ahead of its initial target. The airport has pledged to invest over £250 million in replacing vehicles, gas boilers, and refrigerants with low-carbon alternatives. Additionally, efforts to reduce overall energy consumption, invest in on-site renewable energy sources like solar power, and source 100% renewable electricity are underway.

The transition to HVO is a critical step in Gatwick’s comprehensive strategy to address not only direct emissions but also Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, which represent the largest environmental impact at the airport. Collaborating with airlines and industry partners, Gatwick is actively working towards the UK’s Jet Zero strategy and the Sustainable Aviation commitment to achieve net zero aviation by 2050.

London Gatwick’s efforts have been recognized with the achievement of Level 4+ ‘Transition’ in the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme, underscoring its leadership in carbon management and sustainability practices.

As London Gatwick continues to invest in its future, including plans to bring its Northern Runway into routine use, the airport remains committed to enhancing resilience, reducing delays, and contributing to economic growth, all while prioritizing environmental sustainability and innovation.

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