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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Reducing carbon emissions with High Speed rail

Monday, October 1, 2012

A new report concludes that high speed rail is expected to deliver an increase in transport capacity whilst also making a useful contribution to reducing the UK’s transport carbon emissions, stating that if high speed rail was available today the carbon emissions arising from making a trip “. . . would be 73% lower than making the equivalent journey by car and 76% lower than flying”.

Meg commented:

“I support the benefits to our environment outlined in the report. Not only is HS2 going to increase travel capacity for commuters and freight, this report shows how it will also have a huge impact on reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

The recommendations in the report must be taken seriously.”

The proposed new high speed route, known as (HS2 - High Speed 2) would run between London and the Midlands and North of England. The first phase, planned to open in 2026, will connect London and the West Midlands. The new HS2 trains will have over 1,000 seats and be able to travel up to 360 km/h.

Greengauge 21 was commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Campaign for Better Transport and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), to carry out research into the potential impact of carbon emissions. The Climate Change Act 2008 made legally binding the UKs aim of a reduction of at least 80% in carbon emissions by 2050.

Carbon emissions arise from two sources; the embedded carbon associated with HS2 infrastructure and the emissions from operating the HS2 trains. Greengauge 21’s report ‘The carbon impacts of HS2’ looks at estimates of the carbon impact of HS2 including future scenario’s, the policy factors and future technological developments.

The report has made several policy recommendations for government which will have an impact on the actual carbon outcome. These include:

         Commitment to developing the high speed network. Extending HS2 to Manchester, Leeds and Heathrow will increase the carbon benefits.

         Rapid decarbonisation of the UK power grid. The government cannot let improvements fall behind as it will risk reducing the amount of carbon savings from HS2.

         Sustainable transport and planning policies to maximise the shift from cars and planes to HS2. This requires management of the road network and airport regulation to ensure the cost of transport reflects the environmental impact. Planning policies should also encourage increased use of public transport and greater development around HS2 stations.

         Configuration of HS2 to ensure efficient operation and high ridership. City centre stations will attract more passengers and efficient timetabling will reduce energy consumption.

         Full use of the additional capacity generated by HS2 on the existing network. Freeing up capacity on existing railway lines can have the benefit of reducing carbon emissions.

To read ‘The carbon impacts of High Speed 2’ visit:


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