Bristol Airport expansion boosted by ACT funding

Posted on 8 February, 2022 by Advance 

Bristol Airport - which this month got the go-ahead for expansion from the independent Planning Inspectorate - has announced new partnerships with five organisations in the first round of funding from the Airport Carbon Transition (ACT) programme.

Image courtesy Bristol Airport

The cap on Bristol Airport’s capacity has been raised from 10 million passengers a year to 12 million and is enabling investment which includes new upgrades to the terminal building, parking facilities and public transport links.

Expanded capacity will add 800 jobs at Bristol Airport and up to a further 5,000 regionally. The Airport has an existing plan in place to ensure that local residents are offered future job opportunities and a fund will be created to help support those facing barriers to employment, transitioning people in low paid work into careers at Bristol Airport, with up to £300,000 being made available to kick-start training, work experience, apprenticeships and job readiness.

“Bristol Airport welcomes the decision of the Planning Inspectorate. The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead and provide more choice for our customers, supporting inbound tourism and reducing the millions of road journeys made to London airports each year.

"We will now push ahead with our multi-million-pound plans for net zero operations by 2030 and look forward to working with stakeholders and the community to deliver sustainable growth.”

The ACT programme is a fund launched by Bristol Airport in July 2021 to kick start and fast track decarbonisation initiatives in the South West. The programme supports initiatives and projects reducing direct and indirect emissions from Airport infrastructure with Bristol Airport being a test bed location.

A starting fund of £250,000 was open to businesses and organisations to bid and apply for funding with the projects being considered through an application and interview process.

Since the ACT programme was set up last summer, through the selection process Bristol Airport will collaborate with five organisations supporting innovation projects from the first round of funding.

These organisations include Buckinghamshire New University, easyJet, Jet2, The National Wildflower Centre and Johns Associates Limited:

Buckinghamshire New University will aim to tackle surface access and commuting emissions by conducting research to estimate the potential carbon and cost savings for Bristol Airport from the implementation of a number of feasible and controllable employee transport to work schemes and incentives.

Both easyJet and Jet2 will use funding to develop the infrastructure to accelerate the electrification of airside vehicles and equipment at Bristol Airport.

The National Wildflower Centre - which is part of The Eden Project - will aim to transform spaces across the Airport site through creative ecology, feeding into the Airport’s wider biodiversity ambitions and supporting the enhancement of habitats that delivers the co-benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The environmental consultancy firm Johns Associates Limited will investigate maximising opportunities for airfield grassland carbon sequestration through innovative biochar absorption.

Simon Earles, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Director, Bristol Airport said: “We were thrilled by the range, scope and innovation of the applications to the ACT programme. The breadth of projects was staggering, including new to market technologies, university research programmes, carbon sequestration and energy or propulsion generation.”  

Professor Warnock-Smith, Buckinghamshire New University, said: “We are very much looking forward to working closely with Bristol Airport on its ambitious Airport Carbon Transition agenda, in the important area of employee ground access.

“This scheme builds on previous research carried out at both Buckinghamshire New University and Bristol Airport, which explores employee travel habits and preferences across a range of sustainable access alternatives.”

Bristol Airport has made one of the fastest recoveries from the pandemic, compared to other UK airports and expanded capacity will allow the Airport to explore new direct links to Europe and further afield, including the Middle East and North America. As well as providing economic links for the region, new routes will remove some of the eight million car journeys made from the South West to London airports that were made each year before the pandemic.

Bristol Airport put sustainability at the heart of their expansion proposals and will now push ahead with its multi-million-pound plans for net zero operations by 2030.