Latest Rail News

01.09.16

DfT told to set ‘well evidenced’ and ‘robust’ rail sustainability targets

The DfT must adopt new targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the rail sector, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has said.

A National Audit Office report into the DfT’s commitment to sustainability, published in May, said that rail stakeholders had called its emissions reductions targets for the sector “quite arbitrary and not linked to a full understanding of what was achievable during the period”.

The EAC’s report said that the department should set more detailed targets for rail and work more closely with the industry to ensure that the targets are “well evidenced, well established and robust”.

It said that the department should publish new emissions targets in its rail sustainability strategy, showing how they were decided on and how progress against them will be measured.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has published a new set of principles designed to promote sustainability in the rail industry.

Furthermore, the report recommended that Network Rail should adopt the Greening Government Commitments, which require government departments to reduce their environmental impact.

The committee found that the DfT had displayed a “good performance” in fulfilling the commitments. It said that Network Rail, which owns almost 16,000km of tracks in addition to other land assets, is already well-placed to fulfil the commitments, which apply to similar bodies such as Highways England.

However, only 14 out of 24 departments achieved level 3 maturity in embedding the commitments in 2015, as reported in RTM’s sister title Public Sector Executive.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We welcome the Environmental Audit Committee’s report and will consider the recommendations and respond in due course.”

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