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MP on track to get rail decarbonisation message

Posted onPosted on 16th Aug

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has visited Kirkby-based rail electrification specialists Van Elle.

Anderson learnt about its existing electrification projects and discussed the challenges for the future of decarbonisation and rail.

He was then taken on a tour of Van Elle’s site, including taking part in an on-site demonstration and meeting workers and apprentices.

Lee was showing his support for rail decarbonisation. Rail is already a low carbon mode of transport, contributing 1.4% of transport emissions despite carrying 10% of all journeys. It accounts for only 0.5% of all UK emissions.

However, to achieve the UK Government’s legal commitment to Net Zero by 2050 and its aim to take all diesel-only trains off the rail network by 2040, further action will be needed.

Network Rail has set out that 15,400 kilometres of currently unelectrified railway lines will require decarbonising, which will include electrifying some 13,000 lines in the next 29 years.

At Van Elle, Anderson saw how achieving rail decarbonisation would not only be good for the environment but could also support jobs and investment in the East Midlands and around the UK.

Lee added: “It was fantastic to visit Van Elle today, a company that can lead the charge in decarbonising our rail network. Whilst rail is a small contributor to carbon emissions, it will nevertheless be essential in supporting a Net Zero economy.

“Businesses like Van Elle show that decarbonising rail — and electrifying railway lines — can support jobs and investment, helping provide new opportunities for people in Ashfield and beyond.”

David Buckley, rail director at Van Elle said: “This was an important opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities to support the decarbonisation of the UK’s railways as the network commits to a greener future for all.

“Having Lee Anderson MP join us to not only hear about how we are able to support electrification programmes across the UK, but also see our Kirkby test track in use and learn more about our specialist equipment, was a pleasure.”

David Clarke, technical director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), added: “As our Rail Decarbonisation 21 campaign highlights, electrification is crucial for the UK to reach net zero and will help support green jobs in all corners of the country.”

The visit was part of the RIA’s Rail Fellowship Programme, which encourages MPs to gain hands-on experience of the rail sector, with site visits taking place in their local area.