air quality

Lisbon: affected by ultrafine particles

In the beginning of this month, news about the air quality in the Lisbon Airport – Aeroporto Humberto Delgado (LIS) – surroundings made headlines throughout Portuguese social media and newspapers. According to a recent study, the area is roughly affected by ultrafine particles emitted by aircrafts. These particles pose a silent but deadly threat to public health.

The study developed in partnership by Nova University, from Lisbon, and the Research Centre for Environment and Sustainability, is based on samples collected between July 2017 and May 2018. This study alerts that ultrafine particles are more toxic to humans than others. These particles not only are extremely harmful to the lungs, but also for the whole body. They pass directly into the bloodstream, from there they reach any part of the body, due to its reduced dimension.

United Kingdom: governments sued for air quality

In the United Kingdom the air pollution theme has been considered so serious that governments are being sued in court. In fact, they are losing those lawsuits because of their neglect when approaching this issue. Besides their effort to contradict air pollution claims, governments are convicted for their irresponsible plans when addressing the hazardous level of air contamination. Media is considering that thousands of pounds from the British taxpayers were spent on a defence to an indefensible battle.

By 2018, the UK government had already lost 3 cases over the country’s illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution. The cases were associated with government’s failure to require action from local authorities concerning the inappropriate levels of air pollution. Consequently, courts ordered the government to take further action straightaway, in order to fix the treacherous air pollution.

Cardif Airport sets the example on air quality policies

Carbon neutrality until 2040

Nevertheless, it’s good to see that progress is being made worldwide. After Stockholm (ARN – that earned the reputation of the first European airport to achieve carbon neutrality in 2009) and Boston (BOS – that has also undertaken initiatives designed to reduce carbon emissions) stood out for their initiatives, now it’s Cardiff Airport’s turn to unveil its strategy for environmental sustainability: become a carbon neutral airport by 2040.

The Welsh hub has presented its Environmental Flight Path framework, which specifies the environmental main goals that will allow to become a carbon neutral airport. According to the airport’s CEO, Deb Bowen Rees, they have already implemented different environmental initiatives. These measures allowed to achieve over 50% reduction in carbon emissions.

“Environmental Flight Path will continue as a living and breathing strategy which will be used as a benchmark for success but, importantly, it will be reviewed and expanded over time (…)”.

Deb Bowen Rees

Initiatives & Targets

Among other ideas, here are some initiatives and targets that Cardiff Airport has defined within its Environmental Flight Path:

  • Ensure twin engine aircrafts taxi with only one engine (ongoing);
  • Promote noise reduction using continuous descent operations for aircraft on approach and restricting ground running of engines in certain periods;
  • Guarantee a entire power supply from renewable and clean energy;
  • Launch electric car charging points across its car parks and renew its recycling operations;
  • Install smart meters across the site to closely monitor energy consumption and further reduce plastic usage;
  • Install solar photovoltaic power stations on the airport site by the end of 2020.

This airport has achieved the Seren Standard accreditation for the fourth year in a row, due to its commitment towards legal compliance and sustainability. Cardiff Airport is very committed with its Environmental Flight Path and with the awareness for climate change. They say that flying locally from Cardiff will have a positive impact on the carbon footprint of travellers who may otherwise have to use their cars.

According to Civil Aviation Authority Data of 2018, Cardiff (CWL) is on the UK Top 20 list of busiest airports. It is very positive to witness UK major transport infrastructures setting the example. By investing on reducing their carbon footprint they invest on better air quality and better environmental conditions.

Cardiff Airport
Client Earth