We believe that reopening the Portishead railway would make a real contribution to the environment by reducing carbon emissions. There is a large amount of data available world-wide to support this view. A small selection follows.
1. Sustainable Development Commission
The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government's independent advisory body on sustainable development www.sd-commission.org.uk.
“In a scathing report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and the Cooperative Bank, the Tyndall Centre academics lambast successive governments for misleading the public on what has been achieved and what needs to be done.
By 2030, railways could be entering their greatest era. Trains are expected to remain the most carbon efficient mode of transport after cycling and walking, and the authors expect the British network to grow by 25% in 25 years as people forsake short haul flights for a new generation of high-speed trains linking national and European urban centres.
By 2030, the authors say, double-decker trains could be introduced to increase capacity. Not only will passenger numbers grow, but operators will be encouraged to run longer and fuller trains on more energy efficient fuels. Rail freight will increase, but will be curtailed because the existing lines will be used more for passenger traffic. Track improvements will also be needed to reduce emissions.”
The Government plans to spend £60 billion on Britain's railways over the next 10 years. But much of this will be spent on mega-scale projects - such as the East and West Coast Main Lines and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - rather than on commuter journeys where it would have the biggest impact on car traffic.”
“Given a global population of six billion, each member of humanity can emit up to two tonnes of CO2 per year - a rate that planetary systems would be able to sustain. However, given that the human population is set to rise exponentially for the foreseeable future, this figure will inevitably need to be reduced. Currently, the average UK yearly CO2 emissions per person is approximately twelve tonnes.”
“For example, the average mileage per year in a petrol car is 12,000. This equates to approximately 4.3 tonnes of CO2 per year - over twice our total annual share.”
“12,000 miles travelled by train or bus would equate to 1.2 tonnes of CO2 - far less polluting than travelling by car.”