Rail 2014 Consultation Analysis

12 Environmental issues

Q40 - What environmental key performance indicators should we consider for inclusion in the franchise agreement or the High Level Output Specification?

Table of responses

Popular themes

  1. - The level of CO2 emissions or carbon footprint (including during infrastructure construction and maintenance)
  2. - An increase in passenger numbers, numbers of passenger miles or modal shift for rail as this means less people are using the car
  3. - The volume of recycling and minimisation of waste as well as the proportion of recycled material used

Key themes

12.1 Two primary themes emerged in relation to question 40. The level of CO2 emissions or carbon footprint was one, with the other relating to the number of passenger trips or passenger miles. For the latter, it was frequently expressed that this could be an indication of a transfer of trips from other, less environmentally friendly, modes - primarily car and air travel.

"Indicators should be included for aspects including carbon consumption, waste and biodiversity. However, the primary indicator should relate to modal split between rail and road. The franchise agreement should include indicators and targets to achieve modal shift from car to train."
Stirling Council

12.2 The next most widely identified indicator was the amount of material recycled, or the amount sent to landfill, and this generally related to all rail operations rather than being limited to the on-board aspect.

"It is important that the environmental impact of rail passenger services is mitigated. The rail operator and Transport Scotland should ensure that waste is appropriately recycled and managed and train services are energy efficient."
East Dunbartonshire Council

12.3 A considerable number of respondents thought that the increased use of electric trains, rather than diesel ones, should be an indicator, often citing that electrification of further lines should be an aspiration. A smaller group said that an indicator could be the volume of diesel consumed with many of them saying that instances of diesel trains running under electrified lines should be reduced.

12.4 Some organisations and individuals reported that passengers should be encouraged to walk or cycle to stations and the number doing so should be an indicator. Others thought that the number of cycles carried on trains or the number of cycles parked at stations should be measured to monitor cycle use.

12.5 There were some respondents who thought that a good indicator would be a measure of the carbon released per passenger journey or passenger mile.

12.6 Other indicators which were less frequently identified included:

  • the number of non-retention toilets on trains (which should be minimised)
  • the tonnage/volume of freight removed from roads and transported by rail
  • the volume of renewable energy used
  • the volume of recycled material used by franchisees
  • the volume of energy used, or some measure of energy efficiency
  • indicators in-line with wider Scottish Government policy, for example Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG)

Organisational and individual responses

12.7 There was very little difference between the key themes identified by organisations and individuals who responded to this question. The most notable difference was that a higher proportion of organisations than individuals said that a key performance indicator should be the amount of energy used or a measure of energy efficiency.

12.8 Local authorities and economic and business groups consistently mentioned CO2 emissions, whilst almost all sub groups of organisations, in particular local government groups and again the economic and business groups suggested that an increase in passenger numbers could equate to modal shift to rail and be in itself a KPI.

12.9 The other slight difference was that more organisations said a key performance indicator should be an increase in passenger numbers, numbers of passenger miles or modal shift for rail, as this means less people are using the car.