London Gatwick in the UK has received a Level 4+ Transition certification from the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) organisation, recognising its work to limit or offset carbon emissions in its operations.

The accreditation, which is the highest of the ACA’s six levels, follows years of work from Gatwick to comply with the organisation’s scheme, through which it has been “carbon neutral” since 2017.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate noted that achieving net zero for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, a target that was recently brought forward by ten years, was “critical to the future success of the airport”. 

Wingate said: “Reaching Level 4+ of the Airport Accreditation Scheme is a significant milestone on the journey to making net zero a reality. It also recognises the effort, focus and determination my teams have invested in this important area of our operation.”

The Level 4+ certification requires the airport to achieve all the requirements of the previous certificates while also offsetting remaining scope 1 and 2 emissions alongside those from staff business travel.

The lower “transformation” level includes incorporating scope 1 and 3 emissions into the airport’s carbon footprint, formulating a long-term absolute emissions reduction target, developing a plan to achieve the target and developing a stakeholder partnership plan to drive third parties at the airport towards reducing their own emissions.

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The airport has also said it will invest over £250m ($303m) into reducing carbon emissions through projects such as introducing an all-electric vehicle fleet and replacing boilers with low-carbon alternatives while also reducing overall energy use.

Gatwick’s net zero plan also mentions ensuring it works with the most efficient airlines and improves energy efficiency while also ensuring its fuel system is prepared to use sustainable aviation fuel mixes.

The airport’s recent development of its North Terminal also included a focus on improving the sustainability of the building.

The ACA describes itself as the only “institutionally endorsed global carbon management certification for airports” and says that the six levels of certification (mapping, reduction, optimisation, neutrality, transformation and transition) are designed to account for airports of different sizes.

Gatwick is part of a growing number of airports that are more aware of the environmental impact of their own operations as well as those of the airlines they partner with.

Earlier this month, another UK airport, Farnborough, announced the installation of rooftop solar panels across its site as part of its plan to reach net zero by 2030.