What is the true cost of our summer holidays to the planet?

By 26 February 2020 General

We all look forward to a well-earned break away somewhere. Usually to sunnier shores, with hopes of a cold beverage and some time to recover from the stresses of everyday life. But at what cost does our summer holiday come to, specifically the impact to our planet.

With most brits opting to travel abroad for their annual break, a large percentage of us will endure what most people recognise as the most stressful part of the trip, the plane journey. The packing, the early starts, the taxi journey to the airport. Closely followed by check-in, security, duty-free and finally the never-ending queue to board.

Impact on our planet

But have we ever considered what level of carbon footprint we leave behind with every step towards that warmer climate?

With the Aviation industry currently under the microscope of the world most poignant climate activists, research has been performed into what impact a short hop to the Costa-del-Sol, can have on our environment.

New Scientist highlights some scary statistics the tourism industry were responsible for… ‘tourism’s annual carbon footprint has grown rapidly, from 3.9 giga-tonnes in 2009 to 4.5 giga-tonnes in 2013. That looks set to continue. We estimate that a business-as-usual scenario will increase the carbon footprint from tourism to 6.5 giga-tonnes by 2025’

With 12 of the top 20 worst offending nations coming from emerging economies, more affluent and established countries are some of the worst offenders. With domestic travel in the US, Germany and India contributing to top emissions, travellers are also opting for further, more exotic holiday destinations such as the Caribbean, South America and the Far East.

A figure presented CarbonFootprint.com predicts that return flights, for a family of 4 to Rome can produce up to 2 tonnes of CO2 and return flights for the same family to Florida can produce over 9 tonnes of CO2.

How can we help?

Some simple ways to help reduce these figures are to consider alternative modes of transport. By simply driving yourself to Disney Land Paris you could cut your carbon emission value by two thirds. By travelling to the same destination via the Eurostar, your carbon output is cut by a massive 400%, emitting just over 10KG of CO2.

Some other ideas to consider are travelling lighter than usual. Do we really need to take as many clothes/cosmetics as we do? The heavier your luggage, the heavier the plane and the more fuel it has to use to transport yourself and your luggage to where it’s going.

What are the airports doing?

Birmingham Airport are committing to achieving net-zero emissions by 2033. In fact ‘More than 200 European airports commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050’ as highlighted by the Business Traveller.

Birmingham Airport recently featured in an article by Energyst Magazine to discuss their plans to reduce their carbon footprint. They discussed various aspects that could be used to assist with their plans; onsite solar panels, battery storage, passenger electric vehicles (EVs), electric shuttle buses at airports, reducing consumption across the whole airport in general and replacing ageing infrastructure. Even hoping for technologies that currently don’t exist- hydrogen planes, planes fuelled by battery and biofuels, (whether they are credible or not, they are being looked into).

As an industry aviation is on the ball with reducing their carbon footprint and as travellers we can do our bit to help. Examples such as Birmingham Airport can be used by all organisations to reduce their impact on the planet.

Supporting the net-zero plans of the country are a key goal for Utility Team and we can help any organisation arrange and manage plans such as those at Birmingham Airport. We are experts not only in energy procurement but in green energy too and can assess as well as plan and implement your green energy plans. Contact us today 02476 997 901 / enquiries@utilityteam.co.uk


Article written by: Scott Harries, Business Development Manager