Department for Transport written question – answered on 25th July 2022.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure railways are resilient to future heatwaves.
My Department has plans in place and underway to adapt to and mitigate the risks of climate change. The Williams-Shapps plan for Rail includes a priority for long-term investment in climate resilience supported by smarter forecasting, planning and technology.
Network Rail (NR) and the wider rail industry are also working to improve our resilience to climate change impacts and other disruptive events. They are developing a risk-based approach to resilience planning, enabling a focus on those risks and assets that are key to delivering safety and performance improvements for passengers and freight users in a cost-effective manner.
Lessons from the hot summers over the past few years have been implemented including a maintenance programme preparing infrastructure for summer. The experience of the last few days has shown that there is more to do. Our infrastructure is not designed to operate in these extreme conditions, so NR have prioritised safety. Engineering standards are being reviewed with a view to enabling assets to better handle hotter temperatures (and other changes in the climate) and lessen the need to reduce services to manage risk.
NR’s Third Adaptation Report details the wide range of other adaptation work undertaken since 2015 and lays out action plans going forward.
At an industry level the Rail Resilience Project (RRP), which commenced its delivery phase in April 2022, will deliver on the conclusions and nine recommendations from a cross-industry Rail Resilience Review undertaken in Q1 & 2 2021. It will deliver for the first time a coherent industry doctrine across the full emergency management lifecycle. It will be supported by guidance on implementation, a full competency framework for emergency management professionals and structures to improve governance across the industry and engagement with partners.
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