THE Transport Decarbonisation Plan unveiled by the government has been welcomed by the railfreight industry.
The plan sets out a programme of decarbonising transport completely by 2050, and is being described by the government as a 'greenprint'.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: 'It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero emission cars.'
Rail Freight Group director general Maggie Simpson said the plan sets out a 'clear vision'. She continued: 'We welcome Government’s commitment to setting a target for rail freight growth, and to the electrification of strategic gaps in the network, allowing more freight to be electrically hauled.
'Businesses across the country are looking to make more use of rail freight as they work to decarbonise their supply chain. This Plan should help underpin the investments they need to make to do so – but it must now be backed by the necessary action to deliver on the Government’s ambition.'
However, two out of three civil engineers do not feel climate change is given sufficient priority in infrastructure design and construction, according to new research by the Institution of Civil Engineers.
A survey of 900 UK-based ICE members found that 66 per cent of infrastructure professionals felt greenhouse gas emissions were given less or far less importance than they would like.
Meanwhile, some transport operators have been published their own plans to cut carbon.
Go-Ahead Group has set out a strategy to 'lead the transport industry in carbon reduction' by achieving a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2035, and becoming fully carbon neutral by 2045 – five years ahead of the government's own target. Trains operated by Govia – the consortium led by Go-Ahead – have been given a carbon-free target of 2035.
Go-Ahead Group chief executive David Brown said: 'Climate change is the number one challenge facing society and in order to address it, we must make radical changes to the way we travel. If we’re serious about protecting the health of our planet, then businesses such as Go-Ahead must show leadership.
'Our climate change plan is ambitious but deliverable, and is consistent with international goals of limiting any increase in global temperature to 1.5°C. We will play our part by decarbonising our business and by investing in environmentally sustainable technology. We hope our commitment will be matched by a broader shift in public policy on transport by encouraging people to walk or cycle where possible, use buses and trains as an alternative but only use a car if absolutely necessary.'