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RIA responds to the UK governments Net Zero Strategy

Posted: 19 October 2021 | | No comments yet

“Although we welcome these positive plans, action is needed now if we are to reach Net Zero on our railways by 2050,” says David Clarke, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA).

RIA responds to the UK governments Net Zero Strategy

The UK government’s ‘Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener’ sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet the country’s net zero target by 2050.

Writing in the Net Zero Strategy document, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: “Our strategy for net zero is to lead the world in ending our contribution to climate change, while turning this mission into the greatest opportunity for jobs and prosperity for our country since the industrial revolution.”

On rail specific elements, the Strategy says: “The rail network will be net zero emissions by 2050 through a sustained, long-term programme of investment in rail electrification, supported by deployment of battery and hydrogen-powered trains.”

Responding to the Strategy, David Clarke, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “Today’s Net Zero Strategy is the second document, alongside the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, confirming the government’s commitment to further electrification and hydrogen and battery trains.

“Yet, although we welcome these positive plans, action is needed now if we are to reach Net Zero on our railways by 2050. As Office of Rail and Road (ORR) statistics recently showed, we are electrifying at less than half the rate required to meet the 2050 target, and the UK is still yet to see any significant new electrification projects or major fleet orders of low carbon battery and hydrogen rolling stock. This lack of commitment puts at risk our existing electrification and rolling stock capability, which we know we will need to meet the 2050 target.

“As we approach COP26, now is an opportune moment for the UK to show international leadership and support green jobs and investment by committing to decarbonise rail.”

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