Work Begins on Newcastle International Airport’s £3.6m solar farm

Vital Energi have begun work on the construction of Phase 1 of Newcastle International Airport’s solar farm project which will begin generating clean energy by early 2023.

Earlier this year, planning permission was secured for a total of four phases, providing in the region of 16MW of energy. Phase 1 will provide approximately 3MW.

This first phase will be a £3.6m investment, of which 50% is funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The commencement of the project marks a major milestone in the Airport’s ambitious strategy to be Net Zero emissions by 2035, ahead of the majority of airports across Europe which have plans to become Net Zero before 2050, and ahead of the Government’s Jet Zero strategy target of 2040.

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The site for the scheme is situated on Airport owned land to the south of the eastern end of the Airport runway.

The scheme will include areas of tree planting to screen the view of the solar farm from the surrounding roads and public rights of way. Measures will also be put in place to protect wildlife and to deliver ecological enhancements, known as Biodiversity Net Gain.

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This is the biggest milestone so far in our journey to Net Zero. Our ambitious plan to decarbonise the Airport is critical to the North East becoming a low carbon region, and the solar farm development is demonstration of the willingness of the Airport to invest.

Nick Jones - Chief Executive , Newcastle International Airport

This is a major investment which will transform the way Newcastle International Airport generate electricity and, by significant amounts of carbon during the projects lifecycle, will be a huge step towards them meeting their net zero carbon target. We’re extremely excited to be delivering Phase 1 of the airports masterplan and look forward to the first phase being energised for the supply of low-carbon electricity to the airport."

Scott Lutton, Operations Director, Vital Energi

It is fantastic to see the airport making this significant commitment and investment in its journey towards net zero, and is reflective of our collective ambitions to be a low carbon region. “Authorities across the North East have declared climate emergencies and have set themselves challenging targets in reducing emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. “Together, we can work to bring about positive change.”

Councillor Tracy Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council & Lead for LA7

Sustainability and decarbonisation are key priorities for AMP Capital, and it is important to us that these goals are achieved by the assets that we invest in. The Airport’s solar farm project, along with many other forward thinking initiatives, demonstrates its commitment to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2035.”

Graeme Ferguson, Head of Airports Europe, AMP Capital
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The Airport has also planted over 8,300 trees on land around the solar farm as part of the North East Community Forest project.

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