Ricardo and Mott MacDonald lead development of unified decarbonization plan for UK rail

2 min read

Engineering services company Ricardo has announced that it has been tasked with developing a new action plan to support UK rail industry decarbonization efforts.

Leading a partnership with Mott MacDonald, an international engineering and management consultancy, Ricardo’s experts will consult with stakeholders from across the rail sector to assess existing carbon reduction plans and develop a new unified response for the industry.

The final output will clarify responsibilities, determine achievable timescales, and provide a common framework for measuring, monitoring, and reporting the industry’s decarbonization efforts. The project is due to conclude at the end of 2022.

The Action Plan has been commissioned by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the industry-funded body that strives to improve the rail network’s health and safety performance and forms a key part of its work to deliver a net zero railway.

Andrew Kluth, RSSB’s Lead Carbon Specialist said, “RSSB is committed to helping the rail industry deliver a net zero railway. This project, which is part of our DECARB research program, will help develop a framework or methodology to enable the rail industry achieve both net zero, and deliver key decarbonization targets.”

UK rail has set ambitious targets for decarbonization, such as commitments to remove diesel-only trains from the railway by 2040. However, without a shared plan there remains the risk that uncoordinated responses by individual organizations would fail to achieve the efficiencies and momentum of a unified approach, Ricardo noted.

The Action Plan will fulfil several objectives, including an assessment of existing carbon reduction plans and obligations across the rail industry; an evaluation of decision support tools and modelling techniques; new proposals for accountability, monitoring, performance measurement and feedback mechanisms; an industry endorsed approach to coordinating responses to support whole-system and whole-life results; and a framework for developing sub-sector industry carbon action plans.

“This is an exciting project bringing together our cross-sector carbon management, rail advisory and stakeholder engagement experience. Rail has a crucial role to play in a decarbonized transport system and we are privileged to be able to contribute to the journey at such an important stage,” said Mairi Joyce, the project principal for Mott MacDonald.

Jonathan Brown, global decarbonisation lead at Ricardo added, “Providing a clear and consistent set of guidance for stakeholders in the UK rail industry is a vital goal of this stimulating project. Working together toward a shared common goal is our route to effective decarbonization.”

Ricardo’s selection builds on previous work delivered to RSSB looking at both decarbonization and air quality improvement for UK rail as well as examining the future costs for both hydrogen and battery traction – both key parts of UK rail decarbonization plans. This latest project award continues to help both Ricardo and UK rail to forge a path to reduce the environmental impact of the industry.