Southampton Airport unveils new green initiative

Southampton Airport has launched the implementation of Fixed Electrical Ground Power (FEGP) units, as part of it’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillor Rupert Kyrle, Eastleigh Borough Council Cabinet Member for the Environment was invited to see new units in operation

“The launch of the new Fixed Electrical Ground Power system is really great news; this is because the aircraft are able to plug in directly to the renewable electric supply at the airport, rather than more harmful alternatives.

This is great for the environment and will take about 600 tones of CO2 a year out of the atmosphere, which is absolutely fantastic from a pollution level, and obviously being a councillor myself, and portfolio holder for the environment, it’s really nice as it fits in with the strategy the borough council has for tackling climate change and the climate emergency

FEGPs will power aircraft during the turnaround process, connecting to the airport’s 100% renewable energy supply.

They replace Auxiliary Power Units (APUs), which are built into the aircraft and run on fossil fuels.

Councillor Rupert Kyrle, Eastleigh Borough Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, was invited to see new units in operation and described them as “great news for the environment.”

Phase 1 of the project sees a partial roll out of the FEGPs, at aircraft parking stands 2-5, with full implementation at all 14 stands expected by 2030.

Neil Garwood, Managing Director of Southampton Airport, told Eastleigh News:

“This is something that we are very proud of, we are very keen to see further use of, and as far as our scheme to be carbon neutral by 2030 goes, this is an absolutely key component.”

The FEGPs are expected to reduce carbon footprint by 600 tonnes a year.

But the airport has faced criticism from neighbouring councils and activist groups over runway extension plans submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council, which would see an increase in the number and size of aircraft flying into  Eastleigh and generate an extra 350,000 tonnes of carbon a year.

Leader of Southampton City Council Cllr Christopher Hammond said that these plans would “exacerbate the climate crisis, not end it.”

Eastleigh Borough Council is also committed to helping  communities and businesses across the Borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 as part of it’s Climate Change Strategy. When asked if granting permission to extend the runway was likely to prevent Eastleigh achieving its carbon reduction target Cllr Rupert Kyrle, Eastleigh Borough Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“Clearly there is a lot of concern, being raised by residents in neighbouring authorities and Eastleigh as well, that will be carefully considered by planning officers and councillors when a decision is made in the near future.”

A second public consultation of the expansion plan is set to be conducted at the end of March.

Airport FEGP0032A

Cllr Rupert Kyrle(L) and Airport Director Neil Garwood watch an FEGP in action      Pic: Southampton Airport

Video by Marlon Ayling-Allen and Charlie Bradshaw