Countdown to 2020

March 24, 2012



Edinburgh Airport


Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s capital airport. More than 40 airlines serve 100-plus destinations and some nine million passengers a year pass through the airport – figures which are set to grow as Scotland’s international connections develop.

Edinburgh Airport employs nearly 500 staff, but there are 4500 who work on the campus. We have a turnover of around £100 million annually.

Climate Change and carbon footprinting

We believe that our industry’s contribution to climate change should be addressed and as an airport, we are best placed to help airport uses reduce their impacts. In order for us to reduce our contribution to climate change, we first need to measure our impacts. We first carried out a carbon footprint for the airport in 2009 using 2008 data. We have since built on this footprint and have re-calculated the footprint for 2009 and again in 2010. Details of the 2010 footprint follow are shown in the below diagram.

Carbon footprint

Our carbon footprint has been developed to be comprehensive and holistic and consistent with best practice. We therefore calculate not only emissions we directly control but also airport related emissions in the direct control of our stakeholders and which we seek to guide and influence. Each time we recalculate the carbon footprint we update the methodology to improve the calculations and accuracy of the footprint. In 2010 we focused on improving the calculations for CO2 associated with our waste production and also the emissions associated with aircraft on the landing and take-off cycle.

Emissions from flight journeys at altitude are not explicitly calculated in our airport’s footprint, since these emissions are ultimately managed through national and international policy. Nonetheless we fully acknowledge that they are both significant and that we have a responsibility alongside the wider aviation industry to ensure that these emissions are managed and consistent with the objective of avoiding dangerous climate change. We therefore fully support aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS from 2012 and the longer term objective of including aviation in a global sectorial scheme.

Carbon Emissions Plan

Now we have calculated our carbon footprint we have developed a plan to reduce it. The plan looks at every element of our footprint and details what we can do to try and save emissions in that area. For example we have introduced Eco Driving techniques into our driver training in order to encourage drivers to reduce emissions by employing certain driving techniques.

We also work hard to reduce our energy consumption in our buildings and have set ourselves a target to reduce our energy related CO2 per passenger by 34% by 2020. No small feat when we are growing each year.

The projects we initiated in 2010  to meet this target include:

  • Reduced all transformer voltages down to meet eurpoean directive on voltage supply
  • LED lights installed in engineering office
  • Dropping the heating temperature in the terminal
  • Installing LED lights in new drop off area
  • LED lighting installed in check in area
  • Hot water temperature reduced
  • Reduced energy on baggage belt systems


We have set a long term goal to recycle 70% of the waste generated at the airport by 2020, and aim to process the remaining 30% so that no waste will be sent to landfill by 2020.

In 2010, we set ourselves the target to recycle 40% of our waste as a milestone towards our long term goal.  We achieved a recycling rate of 43% for the year. This was achieved by raising awareness among the cleaners and other staff, there were also new bins installed in the terminal building. We worked with Zero Waste Scotland, a government expert on waste, to help us identify further opportunities for minimising our waste and identifying recycling opportunities. We began a food waste collection in December 2010 which allows the waste to be composted off site and further minimises waste sent to landfill.

Passenger Travel

The CO2 produced by passengers travelling to and from the airport is greater than emissions from our total electricity and gas consumption. We try to encourage passengers to travel by public transport to the airport as much as possible, and work with public transport providers to maximise public transport options.

We have a Public Transport Levy charge on short stay car parking where the funds raised are plugged back into improving public transport to the airport. We have also introduced a drop off charge, where 15p in every pound will be used to fund projects that reduce CO2 at the airport and in the local community.

We have set tough targets in our Surface Access Strategy to reduce the average number of vehicle journeys per passenger and to increase the passenger public transport modal share.

During 2010, the passenger public transport mode share increased from 28.1% (in 2009) to 28.9% (moving annual average for 12 months to December 2010).    This exceeds the target of 27% public transport mode share by 2011, which was set in 2007.

The mode share of “kiss and fly” journeys, the least desirable mode of access, reduced from 23.8% (in 2009) to  22.3% (moving annual average for 12 months to December 2010).

Staff Travel

Travel by workers to and from the airport accounts for nearly 10000 tonnes of COper year. We have tried to encourage staff to travel to work in different ways by:

  • setting up BUG (Bike Users Group) which offers occasional free breakfasts and bike tuning sessions for cyclists
  • setting up a car share scheme
  • holding a ‘Travel to work’ open day
  • installing bike shelters and lockers
  • Ride to Work scheme – 10% of staff have now bought a tax free bike through this government scheme