Government told to invest in rail to achieve decarbonisation goals

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has called on government to invest in rail transport in its submission to the Department for Transport’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

In its response, issued on 10 July, the RIA made a series of recommendations for government, calling for it to work with rail suppliers to develop appropriate responses to coronavirus risks and enable public transport to be the “cleanest and greenest form of transport”. It further called for it to support rail investment projects by bringing forward and accelerating work, seizing opportunities for zero carbon infrastructure and building sites, while also including embedded carbon considerations in procurement decisions.

Elsewhere, it advocated for a rolling programme of electrification to be started now to plan for zero carbon, along with supporting early introduction of hydrogen and battery powered train fleets. The government was also told to promote the UK’s zero carbon rail expertise by looking for opportunities to support UK rail companies in exporting zero carbon ideas and initiatives. 

David Clarke, RIA Technical Director, said: “Crucially, decarbonisation of the rail network requires support from Government, in the form of a rolling programme of electrification, investment in the network to encourage modal shift and fleet orders of low carbon rolling stock, or the conversion of current train fleets to use clean energy sources. The Government’s vision of a decarbonised rail network is very much achievable, but it requires action now to make it happen.”