Network Rail’s carbon reduction targets are based on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius rather than the 2 degrees set out in the international Paris Agreement.
Network Rail already uses only renewable energy to power its stations, depots and offices and is now trialling electric vehicles for its road fleet.
It is also looking at how it can use its land to generate renewable electricity and promote biodiversity.
However, around two-thirds of the railway’s carbon emissions are generated by its suppliers, including manufacturing and construction companies. They are now under pressure to raise their game and get creative.
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s safety, technical and engineering director, said: “Most of our carbon emissions come from our supply chain, so we need to give our suppliers confidence that we are serious about this and must make the changes needed to meet these challenging targets. Many of our suppliers are already making great strides to this end which we can learn from. Working with them to find creative engineering solutions and clever ways to reduce the energy we consume, for example, is key to delivering these targets.”
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Rail is already the cleanest and greenest mode of transporting large numbers of people and goods, but we’re committed to cutting our carbon footprint even further. That’s why we’ve set carbon reduction targets backed by science rather than simply ones we think are easy to achieve. We are the first railway in the world to set targets that will help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and this shows our commitment to change.”
“We’re on an important journey – to support the government’s target of being net-zero by 2050, to help the country build back better as we recover from the pandemic and to help passengers and freight users make the greenest choices they can.”