Let's electrify more rail lines to reduce carbon emissions
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Whether you're heading to a festival, to the beach, or to cool down in the countryside, rail is the green choice for your summer journeys. Rail travel releases up to 85 per cent less carbon per passenger kilometre than other forms of transport. But it could be even greener...
Last month we welcomed the Government's commitment to cut the UK's carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and its recognition of the need to act quickly on transport, the laggard of emissions reduction. Since then there's been much talk of electric cars and charging infrastructure - and much less talk of electrifying rail.
Less than half of our rail network is electrified. And little is happening to change that: in 2017 the Government scrapped plans to electrify the Midland Main Line to Nottingham and Sheffield, the Great Western Main Line between Cardiff and Swansea and the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere.
Now we've published research showing that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport are likely to stall unless rail electrification schemes are resumed.
We're calling for a rolling programme of rail electrification, and we're not alone: the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government, says the same thing, and the Railway Industry Association has shown how a rolling programme would make electrification significantly cheaper.
It's not just about climate change: rail electrification would also help to clean up the polluted air in our towns and cities.
We're urging the Government's ongoing Rail Review not to focus narrowly on operational issues: it should also look to maximise rail's environmental benefits, which will mean increasing the scale and pace of rail electrification.
So while we celebrate the great, green trains that take us on our holidays, let's not forget how much greener they could be.
Enjoy the summer!