How does COP26 affect UK rail and infrastructure?

COP26 is sure to be the moment when the world moves from ambition to action. Although just 1.5 degrees of global warming implies an increasingly chaotic future, it is the space beyond such a figure – the battleground nearing 2 degrees – that is to be the decisive contest for mankind.

From the colourless warm water coral reefs; to the Arctic Sea ice melting summers; to the devastating impacts on wildlife and the communities they support; to several metres of sea level rise; to water shortages, coastal flooding and a decrease in crop yields, the summit in Glasgow this month must provide inspiring pronouncements on matters regarding green recovery.   

According to the Office of Rail and Road Report produced by the British Government, in the year 2020, passenger trains produced 2,400 KTonnes CO2e emissions, resulting in a 35.1g CO2e per passenger km. These figures saw a decrease of 2.7% compared to the previous year. However, the pandemic is expected to have had a large impact on emissions.

Freight trains on the other hand, produced a figure 8.6% higher than its equivalent in the year prior. Technology in the rail industry, much like that of the aerospace, and unlike that of the automotive and energy, are merely actively investigating electrification.

Amongst the green tech bonanza this November was Britain’s first hydrogen train. Delegates and visitors at the event were able to preview the hydroFLEX, which was developed by the University of Birmingham, alongside leasing firm, Porterbrook.

Despite the hydrogen fuelled system being installed on the 30 year-old train, electricity was used to power the innovation throughout the event. It seems that the objective of such a showcasing was to inspire the UK government to realize that the target of decarbonising railways by 2050 could certainly be actualised.

Moreover, a study commissioned by the Rail Delivery Group provided investigations into the single largest consumer of electricity in the country, determining that in order to achieve Britain’s goal of a net zero railway, the network would require renewable power, as well as hydrogen and battery storage.

Subsequently, the report predicts that to supplement the progression of such technology, 6,000 new green jobs would become available, whilst generating £4.4 billion of economic growth.

The Head of Manes Rail and Infrastructure Darrell Atkins talked about COP26 saying ‘I think COP26 will play a part in not only bringing to the forefront issues such as carbon footprint, sustainability and overall environmental impacts the construction and infrastructure currently have, but more importantly how much of a part they should be playing when tendering and winning work as fundamental aspects of any PQQ/RFI or ITT process as well as having relevant and stringent environmental KPi’s and SLA’s throughout the whole project delivery lifecycle’.

In sum, the outcomes of COP-26 thus far have huge implications for Mane in its 29th year of specialist technical and engineering recruitment. Based in the UK, Mane Rail & Infrastructure are committed to working with candidate partners to help create a greener and cleaner future.

By leveraging their expertise, Mane is certain it can find candidates their perfect placement in a market driven by its workers. To find out more, and to keep up to date with new opportunities within the sector, be sure to follow Mane on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and to follow the Mane Rail & Infrastructure twitter account.

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For further details contact – Darrell Atkins, Head of Mane Rail and Infrastructure. d.atkins@mane.co.uk   +44 (0)1923 470 736