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Carbon smart

Achieve long-term reductions in carbon emissions through improved energy efficiency, new power sources and modal shift.

We are committed to the pursuit of a lower carbon railway. Less carbon means less cost, and the more ambitious we are, the more we are helping the country meet its carbon targets. We have both traction and non-traction targets and believe we can halve our footprint in the medium term. We can also make a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of travel and logistics in Great Britain, by  ncouraging a shift of passengers and freight from more carbon intense modes, and accommodating increased demand for rail.

But there are challenges over the coming years, especially as road and aviation are promising significant reductions in their own carbon intensity. The first step, which is well under way, is to identify the areas where the industry can improve efficiency. In the medium term there are opportunities to achieve step changes in carbon intensity. For traction emissions this will come through further electrification, lighter trains, and alternative power sources including batteries.

On non-traction we have a very varied estate, with many listed buildings and a variety of ownership models. This often means different parties working together to implement projects. This is a fast moving sector, with significant innovation, and we will ensure that across the rail estate we keep up with best practice on energy efficiency. There are also significant opportunities for renewable energy generation on the railway estate. Together, using existing technology, these could reduce non-traction energy, and bills, by up to 50%.

Lastly, as a major infrastructure sector, we have a significant embodied carbon footprint. There is increasingly strong evidence linking cost and carbon in infrastructure projects. We need to focus on increasing our understanding of this and targeting opportunities to reduce the carbon and cost in new projects.

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