Transport chiefs behind the new HS2 high-speed rail project say the trains running on the service will be net zero carbon from the first day of operation.
This commitment would play a key part, HS2 said today, in the company making the entire project net zero from 2035, with targets of diesel-free construction sites and major reductions in carbon emissions from the steel and concrete used to build the railway.
The first phase of HS2 is currently under construction between London and Birmingham and is due to open within the next decade.
Further phases will connect the line to Crewe, Manchester and the East Midlands after that however a planned extension to Leeds was scrapped last year.
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Its ‘Net Zero Carbon Plan’ is published today and sets out how it will achieve new carbon reduction milestones, support the decarbonisation of the UK construction sector and reduce the carbon footprint of the programme.
Major new targets include aiming for diesel-free construction sites by 2029, with the first one expected in 2022.
Carbon emissions from steel and concrete will be reduced by 50 per cent by 2030 compared with 2021 levels, it says, with HS2 planning to collaborate with research organisations to accelerate innovation in low-carbon technologies such as alternative fuels and renewable energy.
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HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: “We know the climate crisis demands urgent action and these commitments from HS2 are vital steps towards achieving cleaner UK travel.
“HS2 is a once-in-a-lifetime investment and we want to ensure the country’s biggest infrastructure project, supporting thousands of jobs and businesses, is underpinned by the Government’s ambitions for a greener transport and construction future.”
Chief executive Mark Thurston added: “HS2 is completely committed to reducing our carbon emissions as we design, build and operate the new railway.
“We’ve ensured that tackling climate change is an essential feature of all areas of our work – in design, in early works, and throughout major construction, allowing the project to build towards net zero from 2035.”