RIA responds to Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review
Today, former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore has published his Net Zero Review, outlining the opportunities offered by Net Zero.
Commenting, RIA’s Technical Director David Clarke said:
“We welcome Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review, which the Railway Industry Association was pleased to contribute to. The report makes it clear that the Government needs to do more to tackle climate change and we support its recommendations related to rail, which make clear that longer-term funding certainty for major Net Zero projects is crucial.
“Notably, the report recognises that further long-term clarity on what the future rail network will look like is necessary to meet Net Zero, with a continuous programme for the electrification of rail lines ultimately providing economies of scale for decarbonisation. The report is also supportive of the role rail can play in providing customers with better intermodal options and flexibility, and investing in the full HS2 scheme to include Leeds and the Northern Powerhouse Rail project to include Bradford would help deliver on this, for example.
“If we are to remove all diesel trains from the network by 2040 and ultimately reach Net Zero by 2050, a rolling programme of cost-effective electrification is vital on intensively-used parts of the network – we are still a long way behind other comparable countries on electrifying our railway, with the UK currently lagging behind our European neighbours whose rail networks are typically 60% or more electrified, compared to 38% in the UK. The Government also needs to commit to other forms of low carbon rolling stock which use new traction methods, such as hydrogen and battery, for less intensively used routes. Quite simply, the plans currently in place will not achieve Net Zero by 2050.
“Only by decarbonising rail and building the Net Zero rail network with the capacity needed for the future will the Government deliver on its plans to shift passenger and freight journeys onto rail, and away from more carbon intensive modes of transport. The ball really is in the Government’s court on this.”