UK’s Network Rail plays the green card

Rails through Rannoch Forest in ScotlandScottish Government

The British infrastructure management agency has launched a promotional drive to highlight its environmental greening of the railway. Network Rail has put its weight behind an awareness campaign, informing the nation of the social and economic benefits of the railway. Network Rail is also preparing to hand over to its new, more widely responsible successor Great British Railways.

Despite handing over to GBR in about one year from now, Network Rail is developing a thirty-year strategy for delivering a sustainable railway. As part of an ambition to deliver a seamless transition, Network Rail is encouraging its passenger and freight partners to accept and adopt its green choices.

Green is a core priority

Network Rail say they are working to understand the needs of their customers, both passenger and freight. “We want to help [rail] users make green choices, support local communities and be a good neighbour”, says NR. “A low-emission railway is one of our core priorities to achieve that.” NR say they are working hard to make rail operations even more environmentally friendly.

“Our commitment to wider sustainable development goals, including social value, are also very important to us”, says NR in their Environmental Sustainability Strategy. “There are social benefits to everything we do, and we are committed to supporting our local communities. Detailed social value plans will be addressed separately. Some wider environmental topics such as noise, vibration and water pollution are not the focus of this strategy but do form part of our wider environmental sustainability plans.”

Net-zero target dates

The railway is already one of the greenest forms of travel, claims Network Rail. It is however hard to visualise what forms of transport and industrial infrastructure may stand above them in the league table. Nevertheless, Network Rail say that they will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and even sooner in Scotland, where the devolved government has mandated an even more demanding target of net-zero by 2045.

All forms of domestic transport contribute to atmospheric emissions. Rail, according to figures from the infrastructure agency, contributes only 1.4 per cent of the UK’s total transport emissions. Because of that, Network Rail claims that it can make a big difference. Clearly, the emphasis on transport modal shift means that the railway is ideally placed to be a critical actor in the move to net-zero.

**UK businesses can soon share their stories in a full-colour digital magazine tailored to the UK rail industry. The RailFreight UK Christmas Special will be published on 15 December. Details, including how to take part, can be found here.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

1 comment op “UK’s Network Rail plays the green card”

bönström bönström|04.10.22|10:41

Still, railways is a device – for transports – not a goal!
Last 100 years have seen 3 Shifts:
1. When steam was shifted out.
2. “TOYOTA Case”, with “On Demand” and On Time supplies.
3. Digital Revolution, with rapid, not predictable…, shifts at customer preferences, the “new normal”.

Railways, device, safe and most energy effective, shall prosper within the contemporary! Railway technicalities, optimal 100 years ago, etc. now have to be outed!…
(Electrification, yes, but a timely, etc.!…)

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