Among companies making changes in the area is Securicor Aviation, which operates a fleet mainly within the perimeter of the airport. It has switched its fleet of vans and minibuses to all-diesel.
Hugh Gilmour, the company’s compliance manager, said: ‘We used to have a mix of petrol and diesel, but believe our policy change gives us the best chance of fuel/emission reductions needed to hit the targets. LPG and other alternative fuels are being evaluated.
‘We have fleets at 20 other airports and realise the need to get it right at Heathrow because it is so high profile.’
Gilmour was among delegates at a Heathrow seminar organised by BAA to highlight changes fleet operators could make to reduce fuel use and emissions. These include driver training, maintaining correct tyre pressures and regular vehicle checks.
BAA, which owns the world’s busiest airport and six others in the UK, is under pressure to make Heathrow’s air cleaner by 2008 as part of a deal with the Government.
At stake is its bid for a third runway, to be built between 2015 and 2020 if Heathrow’s green credentials are in place.
Heathrow is a pollution hot spot, as identified through air tests which all UK local authorities must conduct to conform with EU regulations enforced by the Government.
Heathrow’s anti-pollution progress is being closely monitored by authorities wanting to emphasise the need to reduce air pollution, and nearly 50 fleet operators have pledged to support BAA.
Carrie Harris, BAA senior environmental project manager, said: ‘We are going to have a tough job meeting the clean-air targets but are encouraged by the support of fleet operators using Heathrow.’
About 7,000 vehicles are operated airside, with functions ranging from pulling airliners to ferrying catering supplies. Another 15,000 vehicles drive in or out of the airport each day which contributes to an air pollution problem comparable with central London.
Fuel-efficient vehicles produced by technology company Azure Dynamics were on display at the event.