London Gatwick cuts its vehicle (Scope 1) emissions by 90% after swapping diesel for HVO 

London Gatwick has reduced carbon emissions from diesel vehicles by 90% by swapping Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel. The switch means London Gatwick will save more than 950 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. 

HVO is a low-carbon biofuel made from plant waste, oils and fats, making it a more sustainable and lower-carbon alternative to diesel. 

All 300 diesel vehicles, 85% of London Gatwick‘s fleet, are now powered by HVO until they are retired. Electric vehicles will then replace them as part of the airport’s sustainability policy, Decade of Change.  

Some of the vehicles that HVO now powers include all the airport’s fire engines, airside operations vehicles and snow ploughs. An extensive trial concluded that HVO had no impact on the performance of the vehicles, meaning the fire engines still have the capability to respond to callouts anywhere on the airfield within three minutes.  

Steve Kelso, Head of Engineering London Gatwick, said: ‘Implementing Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil to power our 300 diesel vehicles is an exciting milestone for London Gatwick’s sustainability journey and a big step in our fleet transition. We must invest in sustainably sourced HVO to reduce emissions in all areas as soon as possible on our journey to reach net zero for our own Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.  

‘From the buses that pick passengers up from the long-stay car parks to operations vehicles that patrol the airfield, HVO is now being used to fuel vehicles throughout the airport. As we continue to grow, we are making sustainability part of everything we do here at London Gatwick, and we are committed to finding solutions and working differently to meet our ambitious targets.’

In 2023, London Gatwick accelerated its commitment to be net zero for its own Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030, 10 years ahead of its previous commitment. The airport will invest £250+ million to replace all vehicles, gas boilers and refrigerants with low-carbon alternatives. Gatwick will also continue reducing overall energy use, investing in on-site renewable energy, including solar power, and generating 100% renewable electricity. 

The move to HVO is a small but essential step for London Gatwick and part of much more comprehensive and ambitious plans to address Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, which account for the most significant impact at the airport.  

The UK Government – through its Jet Zero strategy – and the UK industry – through Sustainable Aviation – have a plan for aviation to reach net zero by 2050. London Gatwick is working with airlines and industry partners to tackle Scope 3 emissions. This will be achieved through a range of measures, including airspace modernisation and innovations in SAF, as well as electric, hydrogen, and hybrid aircraft. 

London Gatwick has recently achieved Level 4+ ‘Transition’ of the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme – the only institutionally endorsed global carbon management certification programme for airports. 

London Gatwick is investing in its long-term future, and its planning application to bring the airport’s existing Northern Runway into routine use has now entered the examination phase with the Planning Inspectorate. This low-impact plan will improve resilience, reduce delays, and significantly boost the national and regional economy by supporting trade, tourism, and new jobs.  

Find out more about how to decarbonise your fleet by attending Fleet Vision International – THE SHOW on April 11, at the Guildhall in London.