Carbon Tsar appointed to ensure Gatwick becomes UK’s leading low carbon airport by 2025


  • Carbon expert to identify hidden environmental costs of construction
  • Financial incentives to encourage use of electric vehicles on the airfield
  • Gatwick’s environmental footprint ‘same as early 90s’ despite passenger numbers doubling

Gatwick Airport - which already aims to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2020 - has taken this ambition further today by appointing a world-leading carbon expert to ensure it becomes the UK’s leading low carbon airport by 2025 - the year a new runway could be open.

Simon Sturgis - an expert in carbon emissions analysis - will publish a roadmap later in the year that will demonstrate how future construction at the airport, including its second runway plans, are fully sustainable and will generate the lowest carbon footprint possible.

Simon is due to take up his role in late February, just weeks after Gatwick announced the acceleration and expansion of its investment programme, totalling £2.5 billion, to cope with rapid passenger growth.

Construction associated with Gatwick’s second runway plans are also being scrutinised to ensure they have a minimal carbon impact.   

Gatwick has also announced today that it will start a phased implementation of economic incentives to encourage the use of electric cars and vans, as part of a longer term initiative to transition to an all-electric fleet on its apron.

The roadmap will build on Gatwick’s existing target of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2020, compared to 1990 - a target the Government has set for the country to reach by 2025.

Gatwick has a range of measures already in place to drive its broader environmental performance over the course of a decade.  The airport’s environmental footprint - measured through energy and water usage and waste collected - is currently the same or better today than in the early 1990s, despite passenger numbers doubling to 40 million a year.

Gatwick’s current environment targets from 2010 to 2020 are: 

  • 50% reduction in carbon emissions                                    (30% achieved to date)
  • Maintain current zero breaches of legal air quality limits        (on track)
  • 20% reduction in water consumption                                   (achieved)
  • 20% reduction in electricity and gas consumption                 (17% achieved to date)
  • No untreated waste to landfill/ 70% recycling rate                 (achieved/ 48% achieved)

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:

“Gatwick has ambitious expansion plans to meet rapidly growing demand, and these are matched by equally ambitious plans to develop the airport in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

 Carbon used in construction is often a hidden cost to the environment, but we know it is a significant contributor to an airport's environmental footprint. I'm delighted that Simon has come on board and will help us reduce our carbon impact across the full range of activities so we can become the most sustainable airport around. "

Simon Sturgis said:

"I am very excited at the scale and commitment of Gatwick's carbon reduction ambitions. Their plans are significant, imaginative and ground breaking and the leadership they are showing has the potential to be game changing for carbon reduction across the UK."

Notes for editors: 

Simon Sturgis is an acknowledged expert in practical carbon reduction in the built environment.  His agency - Sturgis Carbon Profiling (SCP) provides consultancy services for delivering a sustainable, low carbon built environment and has provided advice to the following UK departments on Low Carbon Construction: 

  • Department of Business Innovation & Skills
  • Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Department for Culture Media and Sport
  • National Audit Office
  • Chair to the Parliamentary Committee for Climate Change

Simon Sturgis has also been appointed to the UK Government’s Green Construction Board Circular Economy Group which is evolving strategy for carbon emissions assessments.  He is also leading a Government Funded Industry wide team who are writing the Implementation Plan for delivering the EU and British Standard BS EN 15978. The Project Team includes: Land Securities, Laing O’Rourke, Cambridge University and the RICS. 


About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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