London Heathrow Airport’s non-executive chairman Lord Deighton has launched a new ten-step Blueprint for Sustainable Freight plan to minimise the impact of emissions caused by freight vehicles around the airport.

Lord Deighton announced the plan at the BCC International Trade Summit, addressing for the first time the challenge related to environmental impacts of cargo.

With the development of the third runway, cargo capacity at the airport is expected to increase to double.

The plan highlights ten major steps to be taken in order to handle Heathrow’s cargo operations more efficiently, responsibly and sustainably in the future.

Deighton said: “The ten steps we have outlined today allow us to keep building on our cargo strength and role as Heathrow’s biggest port by value while restricting the emissions and local impacts of freight vehicles.

“Through innovation, partnerships and our unwavering commitment to be a better neighbour, we are showing an expanded Heathrow is not a choice between the environment and the economy – we can deliver benefits for both.”

"The ten steps we have outlined today allow us to keep building on our cargo strength and role as Heathrow’s biggest port."

The airport aims to use tools, such as load consolidation ‘Heathrow Cargo Cloud’ app for local forwarders, and trial low-emission freight vehicles and geo-fencing technology to minimise emissions on local roads.

Heathrow Airport intends to invest in the installation of airfield charging points that would provide an ultra-low emission zone for on-airport vehicles, upgrade cargo infrastructure at the airport to facilitate additional airside transhipments, provide consolidation points away from airport local roads, and develop a new cargo village to help reduce unnecessary vehicle movements.

In addition, the airport will collaborate with local authorities to address congestion points with the introduction of a code of conduct for operators and a joint strategic freight plan for local roads.

Local residents and businesses will be a part of Heathrow’s public consultation process and will have the opportunity to share proposals on freight and airport expansion.

Image: American Airlines Cargo at Heathrow Airport. Photo: courtesy of Heathrow Airports Limited.