NATS, the UK air traffic management service, based at Whitely, has been recognised for its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

The National Transport Awards, held in London saw NATS win the Contribution to Sustainable Transport category ahead of the likes of Jaguar Landrover and Network Rail.

In 2008, NATS became the first air traffic service to introduce its own sustainability programme.

The programme – named Acting Responsibly – has focused on three key outputs: reducing the impact of aircraft within UK airspace, minimising the impact of NATS’ own facilities and infrastructure, and providing coordination of community investment activities.

By offering airlines more direct routes, smoother climbs and descents and through the introduction of new technologies, NATS has been able to reduce airline CO2 emissions by 1.7 million tonnes a year. That represents not only a significant environmental benefit, but also a substantial airline fuel saving.

On accepting the award, James Deeley, NATS Deputy Head of Environment and Community Affairs, said: “It’s an honour to see the huge amount of work that’s gone on right across NATS be recognised. Our Acting Responsibly programme is a great example of how sustainability is not just the right thing to do ethically and for the environment, but also from a business perspective too.”

As well as carbon savings for its airline and airport customers, NATS has also reduced its own energy and water consumption in absolute terms by over 40 per cent, while earlier this week it announced that 90 per cent of the electrical power to NATS sites will come come from renewable sources by April 2019.