New rail decarbonisation campaign launched by UK’s Railway Industry Association
RIA’s campaign will call on the UK government to increase its efforts to decarbonise the UK rail network, including through electrification and hydrogen power, ahead of COP26 in November 2021.
The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the voice of the UK rail supply community, has announced its new RailDecarb21 campaign, calling on the UK government to redouble its efforts to decarbonise the rail network ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Launched in a speech by RIA’s Chief Executive, Darren Caplan, the decarbonisation campaign calls on the UK government to begin a rolling programme of electrification and to start fleet orders of hydrogen and battery rolling stock in order to meet the UK’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ target and to show global leadership ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
The decarbonisation campaign comes on the back of a ‘Trains Fit For the Future’ report by the UK Parliament’s Transport Committee, urging the government to act swiftly in decarbonising the rail network.
We have clear targets from government to meet – to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040 and to help the UK secure its commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050″
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “Our rail network is already a low carbon form of transport, contributing only 1.4 per cent to the UK’s domestic transport emissions and just 0.5 per cent of the UK’s total carbon emissions. Yet, we have clear targets from government to meet – to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040 and to help the UK secure its commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050.”
“To do this, we need to begin now. With rail investment taking several years, and train fleets having an average life of 30 years, the choices that we make this year will impact whether we reach our targets in the coming decades. Every tonne of carbon saved today equates to 29 tonnes of carbon saved by 2050 – with an apprentice recruited today having 29 years of work ahead of them – making it all the more important to begin quickly,” he added.
The UK government has the opportunity to kick start the UK zero carbon economy – and rail can play a vital role”
Darren continued: “That is why we vitally need to begin a rolling programme of cost-effective electrification, which can be delivered at up to 50 per cent less than the cost of certain past problem projects. And we also need to see orders of hydrogen and battery trains, which the industry is ready to deliver.”
“Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow [in November 2021], the UK government has the opportunity to kick start the UK zero carbon economy – and rail can play a vital role. It can start by supporting electrification and low carbon train fleets, helping to deliver decarbonisation whilst also supporting the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus through the thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of GVA such UK rail investment brings,” he concluded.