At the latest Communities and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Manchester Airport was invited to talk about its carbon commitments. The airport, and aviation in general, has been excluded from the council’s climate action plan but with a commitment to re-assess this once they move towards cutting the cities total carbon footprint in 2013.
What we at MCFly headquarters were particularly keen to hear was that the airport was taking the council’s climate change plan seriously, and preparing for the implications of the total carbon footprint reduction planned.
Rather the Manchester Airport was keen to point out that aviation is only responsible for 6% of UK emissions and that the company (55% owned by the council) was committed to becoming carbon neutral for energy use and vehicle fuel by 2015. Energy use was a particular concern and by reducing use they saved 8,244 tonnes of C02 already. Half of the airports electricity was from renewable sources, with commitments to take this to 100% and a wind turbine was planned for the sister airport at East Midlands.
No attempt was made to question the ‘socio-economic’ benefit of the airport, with representatives stating that the airport was simply crucial for Manchester’s economy and providing jobs. No mention was made of the council’s plan or its implications on the day-to-day running of the airport.
Although it is easy to be cynical of the airport and the fact that they don’t seem to take any responsibility for the aircafts’ carbon footprint once its in the air, figures they provided actually show that ‘aircraft on the ground’ emitted 125,000 tonnes of C02 in contrast to 164,000 tonnes emitted once the aircraft is in the air…Does that mean that the 125,000 tonnes is their responsibility? After all they are aiming to be carbon-neutral in their ground operations by 2015…