The rail industry will require improved technology in the form of electrification, hydrogen or battery if the government’s climate change commitment of net-zero by 2050 is to be achieved.
Representing the rail supply community, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) understands the acute needs of the sector and the advanced technology is imperative if the government’s targets are to be hit.
In one of her final policies before departing as the country’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, confirmed the UK’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The UK is therefore now committed to eradicating its net contribution to climate change by enshrining the commitment in law, which will also see the Climate Change Act 2008 amended.
If the target is to be achieved, the transport sector will play a crucial role; whether by reducing emissions from vehicles, or by looking at alternative fuel for trains, action has to be taken.
The RIA has been at the forefront of his; previously it has released an Electrification Cost Challenge report, which reveals that not only is electrification on intensively-used routes great for the environment, but will also save money.
And David Clarke, Technical Director of the RIA, responded to the government’s announcement by highlighting the need for a programme of electrification in order to decarbonise the railway
He said: “The rail industry is working hard to achieve the government’s aim to decarbonise the UK railway by 2040.
“Over the coming years, we will need a mix of train traction to decarbonise the network – whether that’s hydrogen, battery or electrification technology.
“For intensively-used routes, electrification is the optimal solution so we call on government to work with us to establish a rolling programme of electrification which – as shown by the RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge report – can be delivered at up to 50% less than some past projects.
“We look forward to working with government to decarbonise the rail network.”