UK NATS outlines green initiative results

NATS’ Acting Responsibly programme – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of aviation and saving fuel – is reaping results
Back in 2008 NATS set themselves targets aimed at making their business more sustainable as part of our Vision 2011 programme.
That year, NATS became the first ANSP in the world to set a target on air traffic management related CO2 emissions.
We pledged to reduce air traffic management (ATM) related CO2 emissions by 10 per cent per flight (against a 2006 baseline) by March 2020. At the same time we committed to drive down the environmental impact of our ATC centres and offices.
To put our ATM CO2 target in context, simply delivering 1 per cent of our 10 per cent target today would net the airlines savings of £45 million a year.
Head of Environmental and Community Affairs Ian Jopson said: “We have already started to deliver against our ATM target – in 2009, we enabled 25,000 tonnes of CO2 savings and, in 2010, we did even better, generating around 50,000 tonnes of CO2 savings.”
During the last year NATS has also delivered more than 50 emissions improvements and made great progress towards our Vision 2011 commitments.
Among the developments, NATS teamed up with British Airways and BAA to test out this concept of a ‘Perfect Flight’.
This was a UK first – a trial flight that followed an optimised flight profile and proved potential savings of more than 10 per cent on the usual CO2 emissions (a reduction of 0.35 tonnes of fuel from gate to gate) for its route from Edinburgh to Heathrow.
“The challenge now is to make this perfect flight more of a day to occurrence in our network,” said Jopson. “This will take time, but in the meantime we’re looking to deliver short term benefits in fuel burn and emissions to our airline customers.”
NATS is also working with the airlines to make a real difference to the environment following the formation of regular Environmental Improvement Workshops in Swanwick and Prestwick.
The workshops see representatives from carriers, including British Airways, Flybe, Thomas Cook, Ryanair, easyJet and Loganair, meet with NATS controllers to agree areas across the network where near-term environmental improvements could be made.
Through this engagement between airlines and teams across NATS we have identified over 260 near term fuel and emissions saving opportunities.
And, while most potential CO2 savings lie in the management of air traffic, NATS is also making good progress in our commitment to deliver a lower carbon estate.
“By January 2011 we had reduced our carbon footprint by 25 per cent against a 2006 baseline – reducing energy consumption by 25 per cent, waste to landfill by 65 per cent and water consumption by 35 per cent. Business and commuting mileage reduced by 50 per cent and 35 per cent respectively,” said Jopson.
“By continuing to optimise the efficiency of our buildings and making everyday changes to reduce our carbon footprint, we are on track to deliver transformational energy and CO2 performance right across the company.”