The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the trade body for UK rail suppliers, has called for investment in green hydrogen and battery-powered trains as a way for the government to spearhead an environmentally-friendly economic recovery.
The call from the RIA followed an inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hydrogen, which provides a forum for MPs and Peers to engage with leading businesses and organisations that are working to enable the UK to meet decarbonisation targets through hydrogen projects.
David Clarke, technical director of the RIA, said; “Today, in our submission to the APPG on Hydrogen, the RIA and its members urge the government to commit to an order of low carbon self-powered trains as a means of spurring a green economic recovery following the coronavirus outbreak.
“Alongside a rolling programme of electrification for intensely used routes, hydrogen and battery technology can help decarbonise branch lines across the network, reducing the use of diesel trains.
“The technology already exists, but what is now needed is a commitment to a fleet order. Not only will this help achieve the UK’s decarbonisation goals, but it will stimulate a new market in the rail industry, generating jobs and investment across the country and creating a competitive advantage for UK plc as it looks to increase exports.
“We urge the government to accelerate its plans and commit to an order to help the sector best support the UK’s economic resurgence.”
Jacob Young MP, chair of the APPG on Hydrogen, said the organisation welcomed the RIA’s response to its inquiry, particularly the assessment that hydrogen trains are a viable option for the UK rail network. “Ensuring that rail transport transitions efficiently into carbon-neutral alternatives is crucial to meeting the UK’s net-zero targets,” said Young. “We look forward to working with the government and industry on the best way forward to support hydrogen-fuelled trains being rolled out as soon as possible and the RIA’s response will help inform our inquiry.”