SOUTHAMPTON Airport says it has reduced the carbon footprint of its site despite seeing a record number of passengers.

It said it saw a 43 per cent decrease in emissions last year, despite two million passengers travelling through the airport in each of the past two years.

Its figures are for airport operations on the ground, not the environmental impact of the flights themselves. The fall equates to a 10.9 per cent drop in emissions per passenger, according to the airport, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The airport – which has more than 1,000 staff – saved more than 970 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Amy Le Vieux, safety, health and environment manager at Southampton Airport, said: “Southampton Airport is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and growing sustainably.

“That’s why every year we work with an independent organisation to produce a carbon footprint report which is shared directly with our stakeholders.

“We actively work on climate change by continuously looking for ways that can further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions throughout our processes and will aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”

More than 90 per cent of the airport’s lighting is LED and it has seen a 6.9 per cent drop in electricity consumption. It was the first UK airport to use LED lighting on aircraft stands and last year it installed 11 electric car charging points at its short stay car park.

Southampton Airport’s engineering department is using the Internet of Things – the field of machinery connected to the web – to monitor the terminal’s environment, pre-empting demand on boilers and chillers.

The airport also sends 65 per cent of its waste – more than 300 tonnes – to recycling. Other waste is diverted from landfill to a local facility where it is burnt to generate electricity.

The remaining ash is recycled and used as an aggregate for processes such as roads’ maintenance.

AbuBakr Bahaj, professor of sustainable energy at Southampton University, said: “This is really excellent progress at reducing emissions but you need to get there by 2030, so what would be the next steps for the two to three years?”

He took issue with an airport statement saying the carbon reduction was “equivalent to flying a plane 210 times around the world”.

“It’s misleading to show figures on the ground that give the impression that you’re reducing the footprint of flights,” he said.