Major change from air to rail has save 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions on Scotland-London route: Transform Scotland report

Published On: August 23, 2017Categories: Travel2.6 min read

A report by Transform Scotland says drastic reduction in carbon emissions on Scotland-London route due to changing travel habits of people

A change in travel pattern between Scotland and London has resulted in an environmental achievement. There has been a cut in carbon emissions as more passengers are taking to trains instead of flights.

According to ‘A Green Journey to Growth’ report by Transform Scotland, an estimated 700,000 tonnes of carbon has been saved by this change in the travel habits of passengers on the Scotland-London route.

The Transform Scotland report estimates that if the growth in train travel between Scotland and London continues and it captures 50% market share by 2023, then there will be a further saving of 600,000 tonnes of carbon. This cut in carbon emissions is equal to removing all traffic travelling on M8 for two years, says the report. This shift in travel pattern marks a major change the way Scots travelled to London in the last decade, the consultants said.

Train journeys from Edinburgh to London have risen from 24% to 34% and journeys from Glasgow to London have increased from 15% to 32%. Scotland’s Minister for Transport and the Islands has welcomed the report showcasing the achievement of green transport.

Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland said:

“The Scottish transport sector has failed to take significant action to tackle climate change, and has recently become the single largest source of carbon emissions.

“However, one area where there has been significant progress is in Anglo-Scottish travel, where rail’s share of the travel market has grown strongly over the past decade.

“Our report shows that rail’s success in capturing market share from air has prevented an increased in carbon emissions across the entire Scotland-London travel market.”

Mr. Howden said that more investment in the rail network and encouraging train travel by public bodies is required to continue this growth in train travel.

He added:

“For Scotland to meet its challenging climate targets, it is imperative that further action be taken to ensure that rail can grow to at least a 50% market share of the Scotland-London travel market over the next decade.”

However, both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports have reported record number of passengers, with large part of business being flights to London. Edinburgh Airport registered more than 1.4m people in July.

A spokesman said:

“We’re forecasting 16.5 million passengers per year by 2021 which shows the growth potential air, particularly Edinburgh, has.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said:

“With London at least four hours travel by land based transport, air travel will remain important for Scotland to access London. “We are continuing to see high demand, both business and leisure, for all of our London services.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, said: “The Scottish Government has set some of the toughest climate change targets for the people of Scotland.

“I am therefore delighted to hear of the increase in the use of our railway, as it is a fundamental part of achieving our greener transport aspirations.

“I welcome the publication of this Transform Scotland report which showcases the environmental benefits of rail, and underlines the importance of having high speed rail connectivity between Scotland and London.”

The report adds:

“Further emissions savings can be expected through the introduction of the new ‘Azuma’ trains on the East Coast route.

“We estimate that while a flight from Edinburgh to London emits 177kg CO2 per passenger, and existing trains (‘HSTs’) emit 34kg per passenger, that an Azuma will emit only 28kg — 84% less than a flight.”

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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