TAG Farnborough Airport community tree planting initiative takes root
31st March 2017 by Farnborough Airport
TAG Farnborough Airport UK joined Calthorpe Park School in Fleet yesterday (30 March 2017) to plant 150 trees at the school site as part of the airport’s environment management programme. Calthorpe Park School is one of 16 schools and wildlife reserves in the Rushmoor and nearby area, which are receiving a total of 3,500 native (broad-leaved) trees funded by TAG Farnborough Airport this spring.
TAG Farnborough Airport UK has been measuring and reducing its carbon footprint since 2008 and as a result has cut annual carbon emissions by nearly 30%. TAG Farnborough Airport is offsetting its 2017 carbon emissions in conjunction with Basingstoke-based Carbon Footprint Ltd through tree planting in the local area as well as a conservation project in the Amazon rainforest (Florestal Santa Maria Project), which works towards protecting trees in one of the most biodiverse places in the world.
Miles Thomas, Environment Manager at TAG Farnborough Airport UK, commented: “This is a great opportunity for local schools and wildlife reserves to benefit from involvement in our carbon offset programme. At TAG Farnborough Airport, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. With the help of Carbon Footprint Ltd, we have been working with the local community to introduce 3,500 new trees into the area which will also foster our own biodiversity.”
“Once the trees are planted, the school will be actively involved in their care. We’re hoping our students will run projects to report on new wildlife spotted on site, due to the new habitats the trees create”, said Calthorpe Park School’s head teachers, Martin Amos and Melanie Hooper: “We are delighted to have been chosen to receive these trees as part of TAG Farnborough Airport’s initiative, as care for the environment is a strong value for our school.”
TAG Farnborough Airport UK initiated the tree planting in support of its carbon offsetting activities. Together, these initiatives contribute to the final stages of a ten-year project to manage and reduce carbon emissions through an independent, voluntary scheme called Airport Carbon Accreditation. In 2013, TAG Farnborough Airport UK was awarded the third of four levels of accreditation – ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’, ‘Optimisation’ and ‘Neutrality’ – which certify the step-by-step process towards comprehensive carbon management and carbon neutrality. TAG Farnborough Airport is one of five airports in the UK to have achieved the ‘Optimisation’ level and is now on target to reach ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2019, which requires offsetting residual carbon emissions over which the airport has control.
“The environment has always been important to us and we monitor our carbon footprint very closely. The tree planting is part of our carbon offsetting activities that will help us reach our goal of carbon neutrality. It is encouraging to see that our neighbours support us in this”, Thomas added.
In 2016, TAG Farnborough Airport UK was presented with a Silver ‘Green Apple Award’ by The Green Organisation at a ceremony held at The House of Commons, in recognition of its commitment to reducing environmental impact and continuous improvement through best practice. In particular, the award acknowledges the innovative sustainable staff travel plan which encourages employees at the airport to adopt low or zero carbon travel such as cycling, the use of public transport and car sharing. The airport has also invested in electric vehicles, e-bikes and traditional pedal bikes for staff movement in and around the airport site.
While improving energy efficiency at TAG Farnborough Airport through investment in site-based solar energy, specialised hangar heating systems and low-energy lighting across the airfield, waste management has also been a focus of the airport’s environment management programme. Zero waste to landfill was achieved throughout 2016, establishing a level of performance to which TAG Farnborough Airport is committed to for the future.