Swap planes for trains ‘to stop emissions in their tracks’

A shift in travel from planes to trains between London and Central Scotland has helped slash 681,064 tonnes of emissions. That’s according to new research published by Transform Scotland, which […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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A shift in travel from planes to trains between London and Central Scotland has helped slash 681,064 tonnes of emissions.

That’s according to new research published by Transform Scotland, which suggests the proportion of Anglo-Scottish journeys taken by rail grew by 13% between 2005 and 2015, rising from a fifth to a third of all travel.

It suggests the saving so far is equivalent to removing all traffic on the M8 motorway travelling between the outskirts of Glasgow and Edinburgh for two years.

The report highlights the additional emissions that would be saved should rail continue its progress towards a 50% share of the travel market.

Further emissions savings are expected with the introduction of the new low emission trains on the East Coast route.

While a flight from Edinburgh to London emits 177kg of carbon dioxide per passenger and existing trains emit around 34kg, the new trains will emit only 28kg per person, 84% less than a flight.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including government policies to encourage shifting from air to rail travel through improving services and reducing tax, as well as encouraging innovations to cut carbon dioxide emissions from rail transport wherever possible.

The UK Government has scrapped plans to electrify railway lines in the Midlands, the North and Wales.