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Ricardo leads development of unified decarbonisation plan for UK rail

21 February 2022 | Ricardo Rail

Ricardo has been tasked with developing a new Action Plan to support UK rail industry decarbonisation efforts.

Leading a partnership with Mott MacDonald, an international engineering and management consultancy, our experts will consult with stakeholders from across the sector to assess existing carbon reduction plans and develop a new unified response for the industry.

The final output will clarify responsibilities, determine achievable timescales, and provide a common framework for measuring, monitoring, and reporting the industry’s decarbonisation efforts.

The Action Plan has been commissioned by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the industry-funded body that strives to improve the network’s health and safety performance and forms a key part of its work to deliver a ‘net zero’ railway.

UK rail has set ambitious targets for decarbonisation, such as commitments to remove diesel-only trains from the railway by 2040. However, without a shared plan there remained the risk that uncoordinated responses by individual organisations would fail to achieve the efficiencies and momentum of a unified approach.

Clear and consistent guidance for the UK industry

The Action Plan produced by Ricardo and Mott MacDonald will fulfil objectives, including:

  • An assessment of existing carbon reduction plans and obligations across the rail industry
  • An evaluation of decision support tools and modelling techniques
  • New proposals for accountability, monitoring, performance measurement and feedback mechanisms 
  • An industry endorsed approach to coordinating responses to support whole-system and whole-life results
  • A framework for developing sub-sector industry carbon action plans

“This is an exciting project bringing together our cross-sector carbon management, rail advisory and stakeholder engagement experience. Rail has a crucial role to play in a decarbonised transport system and we are privileged to be able to contribute to the journey at such an important stage” says Mairi Joyce the project principal for Mott MacDonald.

Jonathan Brown, Global Decarbonisation Lead at Ricardo adds “Providing a clear and consistent set of guidance for stakeholders in the UK rail industry is a vital goal of this stimulating project. Working together towards a shared common goal is our route to effective decarbonisation”.

Andrew Kluth, RSSB’s Lead Carbon Specialist said “RSSB is committed to helping the rail industry deliver a net zero railway. This project, which is part of our DECARB research programme, will help develop a framework or methodology to enable the rail industry achieve both net zero, and deliver key decarbonisation targets.” 

Ricardo’s selection builds on previous work delivered to RSSB looking at both decarbonisation and air quality improvement for UK rail as well as examining the future costs for both hydrogen and battery traction – both key parts of UK rail decarbonisation plans. This latest project award continues to help both Ricardo and UK rail to forge a path to reduce the environmental impact of the industry. 

The project is due to conclude at the end of 2022. 

Notes to Editors

Media contacts

Daniel Pyke
Marketing Campaign Manager, Ricardo Rail
M: +44 (0)7785 450 057

Brian Clarke
Marketing and Communications Manager, RSSB
M: +44 (0)20 3142 5653

About Ricardo Rail 
Ricardo plc is a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company listed on the London Stock Exchange. With over 100 years of engineering excellence, we provide exceptional levels of expertise in delivering leading edge and innovative cross sector sustainable products and solutions, helping our global customers increase efficiencies, achieve growth and create a clear and safer future. Our mission is clear - to create a world fit for the future. 
For more information visit
Ricardo Rail

About Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) 
RSSB provides research, analysis, and insight to help the industry work together to deliver a better, safer and more sustainable railway. As a membership-based rail industry body, RSSB includes train and freight operating companies, infrastructure managers, contractors, rolling stock leasing companies and suppliers. Its work involves partnerships with academia and other railways across the world. 
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