To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 28 October (HL39), whether Network Rail carries out any habitat and carbon offsetting to compensate for the removal of trackside vegetation.
The Government expects that, where it is not safe or practical to mitigate habitat loss on its lineside estate, Network Rail makes use of opportunities to improve biodiversity elsewhere on its estate or more widely.
Network Rail does not currently carry out carbon offsetting against the removal of trackside vegetation. The Government believes that, system-wide, the railway should make a significant contribution to achieving our objective of net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by 2050.
Following the publication of the Varley Review on 28 November 2018, the Government published a policy statement: Enhancing Biodiversity and Wildlife on the Lineside. This sets an ambitious target for Network Rail to achieve no net loss in biodiversity on its existing lineside estate by 2024, and to achieve biodiversity net gain on each route by 2040. The policy statement sets out the Department’s expectation that Network Rail develop a Biodiversity Action Plan.