To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of potential improvements to the environmental performance of railways.
Rail is generally an environmentally friendly way to travel or move goods. While recognising the difficulty of making comparisons between different modes of transport, the rail industry estimates that emissions are less than 115 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre for rail compared to over 130 grams for private cars and over 150 grams for air travel. Each tonne of freight transported by rail reduces carbon emissions by 76 per cent compared to road haulage.
We are nevertheless committed to ensuring that the environmental performance of rail continues to improve. As part of a programme of ongoing work across government and industry to evaluate the railway's impact on carbon emissions, air quality, environmental noise and biodiversity, reports have recently been published on decarbonisation and lineside vegetation.