Alstom has launched a new report detailing how the government can decarbonise the transport sector, and in doing so, jump start the economy post Covid-19.
In particular the report calls for:
- Rolling out fleets of 300-400 hydrogen trains to replace diesels;
- A £10 billion programme of investment in areas where green transport is needed most;
- Acceleration of electrification schemes and digital signalling projects;
- Acceleration of rail investment schemes like Northern Powerhouse rail and Midlands Engine rail.
The report – The UK’s New Green Age; A Step Change in Transport Decarbonisation – calls for a £10bn investment programme in UK rail and mass transit systems, after research revealed that the UK is lagging behind its closest neighbours in comparable infrastructure. France has over double the number of mass transit systems (light rail, trams and underground trains) as the UK, while Germany has a staggering four times as many.
Investing in mass transit schemes would help boost many regions of the UK which are struggling with the pandemic, and which the government have promised to ‘level up’. Leeds is the largest city in Europe not to have a mass transit system, while other areas like Tees Valley, Hull, Doncaster, Leicester, South Wales, Belfast, Bristol, Brighton, Southampton and Portsmouth are identified as needing investment.
As well as the economic benefits, the report reveals the true scale environmental advancements that these schemes bring, including tackling carbon emissions, cleaning air and supporting modal shift. Transport is the most carbon emitting sector in the UK and requires urgent action.
To support green transport options the report also calls for rolling out fleets of clean, zero emission hydrogen trains to replace polluting diesels. 300-400 hydrogen trains could be launched simply with a like for like replacement of diesels and would deliver huge environmental benefits, as hydrogen trains only emit water. As well as investment in hydrogen, the report calls to speed up electrification projects as well as existing initiatives such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine Rail. These will all serve the multiple purposes of benefiting the economy, jobs, and our environment.
Nick Crossfield, managing director of Alstom UK and Ireland said: “Many areas need investment to help ‘level up’ and to bounce back from the challenges posed by COVID-19. Green transport schemes not only help areas to build back better but bring long-term environmental benefits too. They have a strong role in reducing transport emissions, improving air quality, and providing an economic boost for local areas. Green public transport systems provide some of the tools areas need to tackle congestion, bring greener living and lever in investment and jobs.
“Alstom is helping deliver these schemes across the world and we’ve seen the benefit at first hand. There is a huge opportunity in the UK to create a step change. We can create a win for regions, a win for the environment and a win for the economy.”