The largest airport in the northeast, Newcastle, is taking steps to become one of the most eco-friendly businesses in the country. The Woolsington-based hub boosted recycling to 82% in 2010, according to news agency, Reuters, and achieved the coveted Carbon Trust Standard Award, an accolade that rewards companies who reduce their carbon footprint.
Bosses at Newcastle created an ‘energy policy’ late last year, which outlined the short and long-term goals that would allow the airport to operate in a sustainable manner. The eight-point manifesto included a 2.5% cut in energy usage by the end of March 2011, plans to upgrade lighting inside the airport terminal, and a 15% reduction in the hub’s carbon footprint within the next four years.
Of course, there is more to sustainability than light bulbs and emissions, and Newcastle has been encouraging holidaymakers to place their bottles and newspapers into special recycling bins located throughout the airport’s main terminal. The scheme’s success is perhaps best represented in figures: bosses claim to have recycled three tonnes of material since October 2010.
The airport’s quest to reduce the consumption of electricity got off to a flying start last year, courtesy of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. During the volcanic ash crisis of mid-2010, the northeast hub was ‘powered down’ for a number of days, as flights were cancelled and customers stayed at home. The brief hiatus in flights lowered energy usage by 7%, significantly higher than the 2.5% reduction called for in the hub’s energy policy.
Simon Fisher, finance director at Newcastle, previously said that the airport takes its “environmental and climate change obligations seriously”. However, Newcastle is not the only UK airport to have improved its environmental karma in recent months. Bristol Airport has installed a wind turbine, while East Midlands Airport near Castle Donnington became the host of a new eco-awareness campaign, Climate Week 2011, in March.