Memorandum submitted by the Manchester
Airports Group Plc
The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) comprises
Manchester, Nottingham East Midlands (NEMA), Humberside and Bournemouth
Airports. It is owned by the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester.
As the UK's second largest airport operator,
MAG handled around 27 million passengers in 2004-05; 400,000 tonnes
of freight are carried from our airports and 90,000 jobs are attributable
to aviation in the areas where MAG operates. In sum, MAG contributes
over £1 billion to the UK economy.
MAG notes that the main focus of the Environmental
Audit Select Committee's (EAC) inquiry into carbon emissions from
transport is not aviation, but would like to make its response
in relation to two relevant points.
1. Current progress being made by MAG on
reducing carbon emissions in regards to:
(a) surface access;
(b) energy use;
(c) aircraft on the ground; and
(d) EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
2. Further steps to be taken by the aviation
industry and the UK Government.
The social and economic benefits derived from
air travel are numerousaviation promotes trade, investment
and travel opportunities. As an island nation, the UK is particularly
reliant on international aviation links. In addition, the North
West, East Midlands and areas where MAG and other regional airports
operate are peripheral to Europe. These regions need good transport
infrastructure to operate effectively in the global workplace
and provide a counterbalance to the over-reliance of the UK economy
on the South-East. Indeed, the Government has identified Manchester
Airport as the major international gateway for the North of England,
the North Midlands and North Wales. This was also recognised by
the three Northern RDAs in the "Northern Way" strategy.
Manchester is the largest airport outside the
South East and the only one outside that region where a significant
range of both short and long-haul scheduled services have proved
viable. Elsewhere in MAG, policy makers have identified the significant
role played by NEMA as a UK hub for express air freight operations.
At the same time, MAG recognises that should
the growth in aviation be as forecast by the Department for Transport
(4% every year for 30 years) and technological and operational
improvements not yield sufficient environmental benefits, then
aviation's contribution as a proportion of greenhouse gases will
rise substantially. Indeed, although aviation currently contributes
about 2-3% of global emissions, the International Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) has forecast that this will grow to between 5-15%
in the future if no action is taken.
MAG fully recognises that what will ultimately
impede the growth of the aviation, and airports in particular,
is not physical or financial constraints, but environmental ones.
Carbon management has been identified as a major environmental
issue for us as an airport operator and represents a challenge
to our business, which we are fully prepared to meet. Indeed in
2005, Manchester Airport won a Northwest Business Environment
Award for its climate change programme, and we continue to work
hard at the local, national and European level to tackle the issue.
We will discuss our work in more detail later in our response.
2. CURRENT PROGRESS
The Committee has indicated that it wishes to
evaluate the progress that the DfT has made against its targets.
In this section, MAG would like to note the progress being made
by our airports and our plans to further reduce our carbon emissions.
Firstly, MAG has signed up to the industry-wide
Sustainable Aviation strategy that commits us to tackling climate
change and building a sustainable future, for instance by improving
fuel efficiency and Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems. A wide
ranging set of targets have been agreed for all sectors of aviation.
MAG wants to go further than the goals stated in the strategy,
and has taken the requisite steps.
We are one of the lead players in the UK Airports
Carbon Management group, which is supported by the Carbon Trust.
The aim of the Group is to share best practice energy efficiency
and carbon management issues. In 2003 the Carbon Trust set up
50 Carbon Management Pilot Projects across a range of industrial
and commercial sectors. As a result of this, we are one of the
few airports and few multi-business sites who have calculated,
reported and modelled our CO2 emissions across the
whole site. The Manchester site for instance has over 300 companies,
19,000 employees and occupies an area of 624 hectares. We now
have a targeted and comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions
and are in the process of delivering it. This is discussed in
more detail below.
Our carbon management strategy is part of our
broader Environment Plan. We aim for a 10% reduction in our carbon
emissions by 2015 and if we achieve our forecast of 40 million
passengers per year by 2015, we will have seen a 60% reduction
in CO2 emissions per passenger.
The key sources of carbon emissions at an airport
are on-site power and heating, off-site electricity generation,
vehicles involved in the day-to-day operation of the airport (airside
and landside), vehicles accessing the site and aircraft when they
land and depart.
Broadly speaking, the breakdown for our carbon
emissions at Manchester Airport are as follows:
|Aircraft on the ground||20%
|Surface access||60% 6% of which is from staff travel)
(a) Surface access
Surface access is the largest contributor to CO2
and is our major priority for action. The increased demand for
air travel has meant a resultant increase in surface access traffic,
mainly private cars. How individuals get to and from the airport
is a matter of personal choice but MAG does its best to influence
that decision by investing in and encouraging the use of public
transport amongst our staff and passengers. This is why all our
airports have surface access strategies, are among the leaders
in developing a range of measure to reduce car use, and also encourage
the use of public transport. Further progress on this will however
be greatly aided by strategic direction and funding from Government.
The two bigger airports in MAG are NEMA and Manchester. NEMA
is an airport in a rural area and this makes it especially difficult
to access by public transport. Our target here is that by 2016,
30% of staff should access the Airport by means other than being
a single car occupant, and that 10% of passengers should travel
to and from the Airport by means other than a car. NEMA subsidises
a range of bus services, including the express bus links to Nottingham,
Derby and Leicester city centres. Progress towards our targets
will depend on the opening of the new East Midlands Parkway Station,
as well as our investment in schemes such as car sharing and taxi
At Manchester, public transport use has steadily grown and
around 20% of staff and passenger journeys are now by public transport.
Manchester Airport first published its Ground Transport Strategy
in 1997, revised in 2004 to cover the period to 2015. Along with
our Employee Travel Plan, this is considered industry best practice,
with the strategy highlighted in the Government's 1998 Transport
Over £100 million has been invested in public transport
since 1992. We have invested £60 million in the ground transport
interchange development at Manchester Airport (now known as "The
Station") and subsidise a quality bus partnership to a tune
of £269,000 pa. This has proved very successful and has led
to an increase in bus use from 2.5% in 1994 to 10% in 2005. More
than that, 10% of our marketing budget is devoted to promoting
car sharing, cycling and walking to work, along with public transport.
The Airport is now a key hub both for the National express coach
network and inter regional and local rail services. TransPennine
Express now handle over £2 million rail passengers at the
Airport, with use growing by nearly 30% from 2004. Fast, frequent
and high quality rail services are attracting more passengers
out of their cars. Our key indicator is the number of vehicle
trips per passenger. This has fallen steadily from 1.84 in 1992
to 1.38 in 2004.
There is however, only so much we can do as an airport operator
to reduce carbon emissions from surface access. The other strand
of our strategy is to work with our partners (including GMPTE)
to increase rail capacity and also extend Metrolink.
Both these campaigns aim to improve public transport, which
is crucial to reducing carbon emissions. Manchester Airport rail
station is already operating at capacity for most of the day with
all available train paths into and out of the station fully used.
We are now trying to fund a third platform. There are also major
capacity bottlenecks in Greater Manchester (the Manchester Hub)
that are preventing the growth of rail services in the region,
and to Manchester Airport. Enhancing the rail capacity at Manchester
Airport will provide passengers with more choice of destinations
and a better frequency of services. It is axiomatic that where
rail provision is good, people use the service. Indeed, it is
estimated that the proposed Metrolink extension to the airport
will carry around eight million passengers a year and remove 1.2
million car journeys from the roads. This extension to the hugely
successful current system is a crucial element in our plans to
reduce car use (especially by staff), better link to adjacent
regeneration areas and open up new areas of the conurbation for
(b) Energy use
With an installed boiler capacity of greater than 20MWs,
Manchester Airport was included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
(EU ETS) as of January 2005. Rising utility prices have added
a greater sense of urgency to tackling carbon emissions from energy
sources. We now aim to obtain 25% of our electricity from renewables
by 2010 and to reduce energy consumption by 25% from 2000 levels
Poorly designed buildings are recognised as one source of
energy wastage. In our previous Environment Plan, we aimed to
reduce the use of energy by 33% per square meter of floor space
by 2000, based on 1990 levels. This we achieved, in part due to
our latest office block that received an "excellent"
rating from BREEAM (BRE's Environmental Assessment Method) for
sustainability, and energy efficiency. At Manchester we are sponsoring
and working on leading edge research into Eco Footprints. This
if the first example in the UK of the concept being applied to
either a business activity or transport facility.
Meanwhile, NEMA is committed to heating its expanded terminal
with biomass fuel from the national forest. This is a carbon neutral
scheme which we expect to reduce our carbon emissions by up to
15%. At the same time, NEMA is working in conjunction with Nottingham
University, where we are funding a PhD student who is researching
the application of renewable energy to an airport site.
As of April 2005, 10% of our electricity was purchased from
renewable sources across all four MAG airports, saving 4,300 tons
of carbon each year. This is well on the way to achieving our
target of 25% by 2010, and we will continue to purchase renewable
electricity and bridge the 15% gap by a mix of green tariff, investment
off site and on site generation. Our initial feasibility study
on the potential yield and energy production of growing willow
or miscanthus on some of our land has been completed. The results
were positive, and there are ongoing discussions with our partners
to put in place grant funding.
On this note, MAG would like to urge that the Government
introduce tax incentives or grants for biofuels and renewable
(c) Aircraft on the ground
As an airport operator, we do not have direct control over
most aircraft emissions. However, we are in the position to improve
taxiing and holding procedures so as to minimise emissions on
the ground or in the take off and landing cycle.
To this end MAG has introduced Continuous Descent Approaches
(CDA) which are shown to deliver environmental benefits by aircraft
using a steady and gradual descent on arrival. Secondly, we have
made improvements to our taxiway and apron layout and air traffic
operating procedures which are designed to minimise holding times,
delays and congestion. This directly reduces fuel burn, noise
Looking ahead, we have undertaken trials around Manchester
Airport and now have a database that records the taxiing time
and CO2 emissions for each flight. From here we hope
to have robust data that will allow us to improve our current
procedures and set targets for reduction.
(d) EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
We previously lobbied the UK government hard to ensure the
inclusion of aviation as part of the EU ETS. Like the Committee,
we want to see this take place from 2008, and regret the opposition
shown by other industries already in the EU ETS.
On the European front, we are now working through our European
trade association Airports Council International (ACI)-Europe
to ensure that our views are represented in the Commission's final
proposal. We support an ETS based on the inclusion of CO2
only, with appropriate flanking instruments to tackle other pollutants
(en-route charging being one possibility). We accept that the
climate change impact of aviation emissions go beyond CO2
and would support the introduction of other gases at a later stage,
subject to the strength of scientific evidence and the inclusion
of other industries too. We also strongly support an Emissions
Trading Scheme with a global scope.
3. MEETING OUR
The Committee has indicated that it wishes to assess if the
DfT's targets are realistic and if there is a role for demand
management in particular. In this section MAG would like to propose
steps we feel the Government and industry should be taking to
achieve its carbon emission targets.
Firstly, the Government has recognised the importance of
mobility to social and economic development, as well as the significant
environmental impact of the transport industry. However the modes
of transport have to be well-integrated, and well-developed to
aid economic development and minimise the environmental impact
of transport. To this end, MAG believes that the Government needs
to invest more heavily in surface access (especially rail) where
appropriate to reduce the reliance on private transport.
Secondly, MAG believes that demand management for air travel
is a crude instrument that will stifle economic growth and will
hit the poorest, not those who least require air travel.
However we believe demand management can play a part in reducing
emissions from road traffic. But this is in the context of the
prior provision of public transport, of adequate capacity and
quality. Such an approach should also support a policy of using
the strategic road and rail networks for long distance, intra-regional
or strategic trips eg to give access to ports or airports.
Demand management in the form of a tax on aviation fuel would
contravene international agreements and there is, for that matter
of fact, no fuel tax on shipping, there is only 3p/litre on "red
diesel" for trains while buses benefit from Fuel Duty Rebate.
Aviation also funds all its own infrastructure . Indeed a DfT
study from 2002 found that aviation's external environmental costs
are broadly equivalent to annual Air Passenger Duty (APD) of £1
billion/pa. Demand management in the form of air to rail substitution
or electronic substitution eg use of video-conferencing would
not reduce the reliance on, and the demand for international direct
air links. Air-rail substitution is not always feasible at present,
while technological progress has in fact gone hand-in-hand with
the growth in demand for air travel, instead of replacing it.
The provision of more direct air services from regional airports
avoids passengers making air or surface journeys to the congested
South East airports saving emissions, time and congestion.
Instead of suppressing demand, MAG believes that we should
encourage emissions trading and would like to see APD replaced
by emissions tradingbecause this would incentivise airlines
to use more fuel efficient aircraft.
On the subject of the EU ETS, we acknowledge the leadership
and commitment shown by the UK government during its Presidency
of the EU. We would however like the Government to continue to
prioritise this issue and work closely with our EU counterparts
to ensure that speedy progress is made.
Thirdly, for many other industries, individuals have an opportunity
to change their behaviour and thereby reduce climate change whilst
still enjoying the services offered (eg insulation of houses,
whilst still enjoying the benefits of central heating). However
with air travel, the average person can only choose to fly less,
or practice carbon offsetting through initiatives such as Climate
MAG believes that the aviation industry needs a new initiative
to encourage people to reduce their climate impact when they do
fly (eg by taking less baggage with them, by travelling to airport
by public transport) or by demanding less "frills" like
catering and entertainment on board.
MAG supports the Government's view that aviation is critical
to the UK's future prosperity. The growth of regional airports
such as Manchester has been shown to be vital for improving the
competitiveness of the regions and a comprehensive range of air
services are a core component of competitive cities. As key hubs
in the regional and national transport network, airports provide
an opportunity to develop as true multi-modal interchanges with
the critical mass to support investment in much improved public
At the same time MAG fully accepts that carbon emissions
from the industry are a challenge that has to be tackled, not
least because environmental constrains could potentially impede
the sustainability of our business.
As an airport operator, we have, over the years improved
our operational and business practices and hence reduced our carbon
emissions. We intend to continue our present good practice (eg
buying renewable energy), and also doing more to ensure that we
reduce our carbon emissions (eg investing in our own renewable
energy sources). We will also continue to work with our airline
partners to reduce their carbon emissions at the airport, for
instance by improving taxiing and holding procedures.
In conclusion, MAG believes that the key steps that need
to be taken to meet our carbon emission commitments are:
delivery of the measures in the Sustainable Aviation
implementation of integrated transport strategies;
investment in public transport measures to provide
an attractive alternative to private transport; and
inclusion of aviation into EU ETS as soon as possible.