In comparison to road, rail offers many significant environmental benefits, including:
- Reducing CO2 emissions by 76% per freight tonne mile moved compared to road
- Improving local air quality
- Where electric locomotives are used, CO2 and air quality are improved even further
Britain’s roads are amongst the busiest in Europe, and our motorways carry a higher proportion of freight than any other major European economy.
Each freight train removes up to 76 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) off the road depending on the commodity being transported, resulting in 1.6 billion fewer HGV kilometres per year.
Rail services are more reliable than road services with average unplanned delays by rail of 4.4 seconds per mile compared to average delays on the national strategic road network of 9.4 seconds per mile.
Meeting environmental targets
With the significant environmental benefits clear, Rail Freight can play a key role in meeting the government’s environmental targets. Growing rail’s share of the surface freight market will be crucial in meeting the UK’s future carbon reduction targets.
Investments by rail freight operators and the government have further enhanced rail freight’s green credentials. Improvements to the capability of the rail network and the acquisition of new rolling stock have allowed freight operators to run more efficient, longer and heavier trains. Since 2003, freight tonnes moved per train have increased by over 75%, and further incremental increases are planned, increasing the productivity of the paths we use on the rail network.
We have invested in fitting all our class 66 locomotive fleet with start-stop technology and this is used in conjunction with our loco idling policies to minimise energy consumption.
Collaboration to optimise use of different modes
Of course rail cannot replace all road movements so, instead, we aim to optimise the modes of rail and road to offer the most effective solution for our customers’ requirements. Whilst our rail services can move large volumes of freight over long distances very efficiently, our road operation can be flexible in delivering to the customer’s door.
Whichever mode of transportation is used, we always strive to offer the most environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution for our customers’ needs.
Our HGV fleet all meet Euro 6 emission standards and our policy is to design and execute our road operations as efficiently as possible, minimising environmental impact.
Our IAM Roadsmart-approved Driver Training Academy teaches courses focused on limiting our environmental footprint and reducing accidents on our roads.
We are aiming to minimise the generation and impact of waste that is unavoidable in our industry. We have implemented a wide ranging waste management and recycling programme which covers wood, paper, metals, oil and lubricants ensuring waste is discarded in strict compliance with regulations.
We also promote procedures and practices that enhance environmental protection, taking into account current legislation and industry codes of practice.
Safety & Sustainability policy statement