Railway Network: Climate Change

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 26 July 2022.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on building greater resilience into the rail network as a result of climate change.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Minister of State (Department for Transport)

My department takes resilience of the railway very seriously. The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail includes a priority for long-term investment in climate resilience supported by smarter forecasting, planning and technology. The Department is working closely with Defra and the Climate Change Committee to ensure infrastructure risks are identified and addressed. Defra is the lead government department for climate change adaptation and is regularly in contact with the Treasury on the associated costs.

Network Rail has made significant progress in developing its understanding of weather risks and how these will shift as the climate changes into the future. Network Rail has developed a Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation (WRCCA) Strategy which has helped improve governance, knowledge and practices throughout its business. There are a number of mechanisms through which it identifies, records and controls its risks, including its updated Control Period 6 Route WRCCA Plans and recent Asset Management WRCCA Plan. Further information can be provided on this is required. Network Rail is also working on implementing the recommendations of the Mair and Slingo reports.

Furthermore, the third National Adaptation Programme is due in 2023. It will showcase the government’s strategy and plans to tackle the effects of climate change, including how to protect people, infrastructure and the environment in heatwaves. For transport, this means working closely with transport infrastructure operators to take meaningful and measurable action to address risks posed by our changing climate.

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