Heathrow outlines ten cargo steps for staying Green

12 / 10 / 2017

Heathrow Airport management has announced a new ten step Blueprint for Sustainable Freight to reduce the impact of freight vehicles around Europe's fourth largest cargo hub.

The UK's largest airport, still awaiting a Parliamentary vote next year to approve building of a third runway, set out its plans to ensure that even as freight volumes grow with expansion, overall airport-related traffic on the road does not increase in number compared with today. 

Heathrow’s role as a trading hub will grow as expansion takes place, with cargo capacity set to double with the addition of a third runway. Currently, the majority of Heathrow's annual 2.75m freight vehicle movements  are made to support the airport’s cargo operations.

Heathrow’s non-executive chairman Lord Deighton unveiled the initiative at the BCC International Trade Summit. Lord Deighton set out “ten practical steps” detailing how freight operations “can be more efficient, responsible and sustainable in the future”. The proposed steps include:


  • Using innovation through tools like a load consolidation “Heathrow Cargo Cloud” app for local forwarders and the trial of low emission freight vehicles and geo-fencing technology to reduce emissions on local roads
  • Investments in airfield charging points to install an ultra-low emission zone for vehicles on-airport;
  • Modernising cargo infrastructure at the airport to allow for more airside transhipments, consolidation points away from airport local roads and a new cargo village that reduces unnecessary vehicle movements;
  • Working with local authorities to address congestion points with a Code of Conduct for operators, and a joint strategic freight plan for local roads.

The steps are intended to deliver against the commitments set out in Heathrow 2.0, the airport’s sustainability strategy. Local residents and businesses will have the opportunity to feed into proposals on freight and Heathrow’s expansion, as they will form part of the airport’s public consultation process.

Lord Deighton said: “Heathrow is dedicated to keeping the UK economy growing – but at the same time, we have pledged to be a sustainability leader and made promises to our local communities that we intend to keep.

“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.”

Chris Welsh, director global and European policy for the UK’s Freight Transport Association said: “Heathrow’s Blueprint for Sustainable Freight is a collaborative and pioneering plan.

"By establishing a sustainable freight group, Heathrow will gain valuable insight from industry to develop procedures that are synergetic and will satisfy both Heathrow’s ambitious environmental goals as well as increasing the efficiency of freight operations in and around the airport. We look forward to working with them.”