As host of the recent COP26 climate summit, Britain’s drive to help slash global carbon emissions will involve keeping to its own target of phasing out diesel trains over the next two decades, industry bodies and observers say.

According to the latest government data, about 29% of the UK train fleet still runs on diesel and freight trains run almost entirely on it.

On Thursday, the government unveiled plans to electrify an additional 180 miles (288 kilometres) of track in a new rail strategy.

“This would help to meet the ambition of removing all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040”, the Department for Transport said.

While electric trains emit 60% less carbon than their diesel counterparts, only 42% of the UK rail network is currently electrified, according to official data.

That places the UK far behind European neighbours, such as the Netherlands, where 76% of the network is electrified.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2021.

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