The Liege Airport Environmental Policy
As stated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO): “the sustainable growth of aviation is important for future economic growth and development, trade and commerce, cultural exchange and understanding among peoples and nations; therefore prompt action must be taken to ensure that it is compatible with the quality of the environment and develops in ways that alleviate adverse impact”. Today, airports play an active role in the sustainable development of the aviation industry. Liege Airport’s ambition is to be an innovative airport that encourages collaboration projects, particularly those that can be placed within the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.
Liege Airport’s objectives are the marketing and the development of the Liege airport zone and its surroundings, attracting investors and industrial operators, and the commercial management of the airport. Liege Airport is responsible for managing the Liege airport facilities.
Liege Airport is committed to the sustainable development of the airport as a hub for economic renewal, and logistical and transport excellence.
Liege Airport is aware of the need for continuous improvement of its environmental management to ensure that as it expands its activities, it is respectful of natural environments and local communities.
Since 2003, Liege Airport has integrated environmental protection into its business strategy, in keeping with current environmental legislation and regulations including pollution prevention.
Liege Airport has continuously sought to prevent and to reduce the environmental impact of its activities beyond the legal regulatory requirements. Liege Airport has adopted an Environmental Management System to meet the ISO 14001:2015 standard. Liege Airport has also signed up to both the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme launched by ACI Europe and supported by the European Commission, and to the Lean & Green programme of Logistics in Wallonia.
Liege Airport has made real efforts to reduce its environmental footprint by focusing on the following issues:
Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance
Liege Airport continuously stays up to date with environmental obligations via a regulatory compliance subscription service. Every year, all obligations relevant to the business are reviewed to ensure compliance
Greenhouse gas emissions
The aviation sector has a considerable impact on climate change: in 2017, it was responsible for 3.8% of the EU’s CO2 emissions and 13.9% of transport CO2 emissions. Tackling the challenge of climate change is essential not just at the airport development stage: it should also be incorporated into the day-to-day running of the airport.
Through its involvement in the “Airport Carbon Accreditation” (ACA) system, which is the recognised approach for greenhouse gas monitoring launched by ACI Europe and supported by the European Commission, Liege Airport can identify, reduce and eventually eliminate its own greenhouse gas emissions and others involved with it. Liege Airport is currently accredited at “Level 3 – optimisation”, which indicates that its annual CO2 emissions are continually being reduced and that the airport is involving its partners (airlines, handlers, renters, etc.) in a communal approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to the implementation of “Collaborative Environmental Management” (CEM). CEM was developed by Eurocontrol to meet the needs expressed by stakeholders, who wanted common solutions to the environmental challenges they face.
Liege Airport’s electricity supply contributes to this goal, as it is sourced from a distribution network based on “100% green energy” contracts.
Reducing the carbon footprints of airports is important, but it is not enough. This is why Liege Airport supports the pledges of the “Sustainability Strategy for Airports”, approved by the ACI (Airport Council International) Europe Board, and is committed to:
- Reducing its own CO2 emissions to 0 by 2050, without resorting to current compensation systems;
- Promoting and supporting the global push in the aviation sector towards CO2
In order to avoid leaving future generations with the biggest share of the burden, Liege Airport is committed to reaching ACA “Level 3 + – Neutrality” by 2030. To do so, it commits to:
- Reducing its CO2 emissions by at least 75% between 2017 and 2030.
- Offsetting the remaining emissions through sustainable projects involving the local communities.
After establishing a fully-fledged energy accounting system, Liege Airport has continued making efforts to reduce its electricity and fuel consumption.
This efficient use of energy is made possible through investments in lighting, heating, air conditioning, and building and infrastructure insulation.
Liege Airport has also installed photovoltaic cells on the roofs of some buildings. The feasibility of installing solar panels is considered at the project stage of new constructions. The feasibility of including other renewable energy sources (hydrogen, geothermal etc.) in the energy mix is also incorporated into development projects.
Liege Airport is committed to using the financial, human and organizational means necessary to reach net carbon neutrality (without offsets) via, in particular:
- the use of the best available technologies to reduce carbon use in heating and cooling for all new buildings and technical facilities,
- the use of green vehicles (electric, hydrogen, etc.) for the renewal of its own fleet, and
- making available to its partners electric and hydrogen recharging stations for their own needs.
While complying with the relevant regulations regarding aviation safety, Liege Airport will seek to integrate respect and preservation for biodiversity into the framework of its activities, in close partnership with the Public Services Department of the Walloon Government (SPW) and SOWAER.
In order to accomplish this, a survey is currently being conducted with the University of Liege to establish the current biodiversity situation at the Liege Airport site and to set out a series of improvements compatible with the development of the airport and aviation security.
Conservation of surface water and ground water
In order to conserve ground water resources, Liege Airport is making efforts to maximise rainwater recovery and storage across its various buildings. This water is then used for sanitation and cleaning in order to reduce the consumption of potable water.
Liege Airport tries to use as many environmentally friendly products as possible when managing and maintaining the airport infrastructure. All departments stay up to date with the latest relevant technologies so that they can integrate them into their day-to-day management systems and their investments.
Liege Airport is always working with its partners (handlers, cargo operators, passengers etc.) to find ways of reducing the negative impact of its activities on ground water and surface waters. Specifically, an innovative solution has been found to stop the run-off from aircraft de-icing, maintenance and cleaning processes from entering nearby rivers.
Since 2012, Liege Airport has constantly monitored the ambient air quality thanks to a measuring station which is located next to the runway and is managed by the Belgian Scientific Institute of Public Service (ISSeP). The results of the station’s surveys are studied in partnership with ISSeP in order to confirm the low impact of the activities of the airport and its partners on air quality.
In partnership with the ISSeP, SOWAER and the Walloon Minister of Airports, new measuring stations are being set up beyond the runways. In addition to fine particles and nitrogen oxide, these stations will measure the concentration in the air of the main organic pollutants generated by air transportation activities.
Liege Airport is also committed to publishing the measuring station reports on air quality at the airport.
Combating noise pollution
As part of the Long-Term Development Plan (PDLT) and the Noise Exposure Plan (PEB), Liege Airport supports the SOWAER missions on combating noise pollution. Liege Airport will continue to provide SOWAER with the information necessary to carry out these missions.
Liege Airport will continue to participate in meetings of the Support Committee created by the Walloon Region and in the triennial reviews of the Noise Exposure Plan (PEB). Liege Airport will continue to work alongside the Public Services Department of the Walloon Government (SPW) and with the Airport Noise Pollution Control Authority in the Walloon Region (ACNAW) as part of the framework of administrative sanctions for noise pollution infractions.
In 2023, a new airport pricing system has been implemented in order to promote the use of less noisy aircraft and movements (arrivals and departures) during the least problematic times of the day.
In accordance with its Transport Strategy, Liege Airport is working to develop consistent transfer possibilities and to act as an accelerator of modal transfers, from cars towards public and active transportation.
By improving the quality and availability of public transport and supporting the most environmentally friendly modes of transport, Liege Airport aims to help reduce road traffic and improve air quality.
Liege Airport, in partnership with the Walloon Region and the OTW, is researching the implementation of alternative transport solutions on the site, such as the creation of an express line between Liege Airport and the city itself, and a shuttle bus service between the various on-site businesses and a central location (called Mobipoint).
In order to support the migration of its fleet towards electric vehicles, and also those of its partners, Liege Airport is continuing with the installation of recharging stations in its car parks to meet the needs and demands of clients, staff and visitors.
Liege Airport is also committed to integrating clean transport technologies (electric, hydrogen, hybrid etc.) into its vehicle renewal programme, depending on the possibilities available on the market, and to support the development of these technologies around the airport site.
Awareness, information and partnerships
People are becoming more and more aware of the impact that their activities are having on the environment. However, awareness and information must be long-term goals. Liege Airport staff, suppliers, passengers and clients are all made aware of the airport’s environmental policy through regular updates and proper training.
Liege Airport is dedicated to strengthening the involvement of clients and suppliers in the environmental strategy by including and strengthening contract clauses:
- Clients who own their building must integrate the strategy in the design and construction of their facilities;
- Suppliers must follow contractual clauses in the consultation documents, design specifications and framework contracts (waste collection and commitment to recycling of this waste, carbon footprint, greening of the subcontractor parking area, etc.).
As part of the environmental policy, Liege Airport staff are stakeholders in the preservation of nature and the environment, and management is committed to upholding this civil environmental policy.