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Railways: Freight

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 241984, tabled on 8 April 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of increased freight travel by rail on climate change.

Answered on

15 April 2019

Government recognises the environmental benefits of rail freight and we are committed to supporting the long-term growth of the rail freight industry. Government’s Rail Freight Strategy, published in September 2016, sets out a shared vision for how rail freight can increase its share of the freight market, and encourage modal shift from road to rail. As part of this strategy, Arup were commissioned to assess the potential to reduce carbon emissions through greater modal shift from road to rail.

In response to the Government’s ambition to improve the carbon performance of the railway, the Rail and Safety Standards Board is undertaking a research project examining the options for decarbonising rail freight. The result of this research will inform future policy decisions in this area. Government is also working with industry to produce up-to-date emissions data from freight locomotives, so that we can better understand the environmental impact of rail freight.