Willow trees to power airport
An airport will become the first in the UK to be powered partly by willow trees, it has confirmed.
The first cuttings in the 26-hectare willow farm planned at East Midlands Airport have been planted.
The trees will produce fuel for a biomass boiler in the terminal building, a spokeswoman said.
The farm, located north of the runway on land owned by the airport, is expected to produce about 280 tonnes of wood fuel each year.
This will save 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the spokeswoman said.
Neil Robinson, the airport's director of sustainability, said: "This is a landmark day for East Midlands Airport and we are delighted that the willow farm has now been planted and that we are the first UK airport to do this.
"We believe we are leading the way for airports and this is the first step of an ongoing process that will take approximately five years to complete.
"By growing our own wood fuel we are taking another important step towards our overall goal to make our ground operations carbon neutral by 2012.
"The willow farm is one in a long line of projects that will provide energy for our on-site buildings and will help us to become more sustainable for the future."
More than 26 hectares of willow trees are expected to be planted at the Derbyshire airport by 2013.