With the support of Awards for All, we are sponsoring a pilot project to take primary school children from two schools in Hounslow, situated under or close to the Heathrow flight path, on visits to nearby countryside. The visits will be facilitated by two teachers with expertise in encouraging children to engage with the natural world. The UK education curriculum requires schools to deliver learning to primary school children not just in the classroom but beyond it, yet children in some areas have little access to the sights and sounds of the natural world. For children whose schools are affected by aircraft noise, outdoor learning can be very difficult. The potential benefit of this approach was recognised in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper, and the project aims to gather evidence from staff, pupils and parents on the value of these trips, as well as the ability to offer the scheme to other schools in the future.
With companies increasingly focused on how to reduce their carbon footprint, many are beginning to look at how they use air travel. To help understanding of these issues and potential solutions, the AET continues to support non-governmental organisation particpation in Project ICARUS, an initiative created by the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM) and since acquired by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). ITM, the recognised body for business travel bringing together travel buyers and managers from major companies, partnerships and government, created ICARUS as a definitive source of information, education and support for sustainability issues in business travel and meetings. Its four key components include: encouraging reductions in carbon emissions; developing an understanding of the wider sustainability issues; providing educational programs and events specialising in sustainability; and recognising companies who have adopted these best practices. Specific initatives have included the development of a tool kit for travel managers on how to measure and reduce emissions, as well as case studies on alternatives such as video conferencing.