Aerial view of Souldrop level crossing with passing train
Aerial view of Souldrop level crossing with passing train

We own, operate and develop 20,000 miles of track across Britain and that’s just the start.

With such far-reaching infrastructure, we have a responsibility to limit our impact on the environment as best we can.

We’ve made significant progress in sustainability over the past year, diverting 94% of our waste from landfill.

Our latest annual report shows we generated 2.14 million tonnes of waste in the 2017 to 2018 period, including construction, demolition, commercial and hazardous waste. We reused a third of this waste, recycled more than half of it and converted 5% into energy.


We’re also aiming to reduce our carbon emissions by 11.2% over our current control period – a five-year time frame in which we plan and budget our activities.

In 2017 to 2018 we reduced our CO2 emissions by 6.3% compared with the previous year, with total reductions of 17.5% against the baseline of our previous control period, Control Period 4.

We have launched a range of energy, cost and carbon reduction initiatives across Network Rail. For example, we are working hard to recover energy costs and encourage energy reduction throughout our managed stations.

We’re doing this through an ongoing programme of in-depth survey work of all station retail areas, with benefits to date exceeding £2.5m. Business units are implementing energy efficiency projects to achieve targeted energy savings, and are shaping energy and carbon reduction plans for Control Period 6, which begins next year.

Reducing waste at our stations

We’re aiming to significantly cut the amount of waste produced by our stations in the coming years. Since February we have installed free drinking water facilities at railway stations across Britain, providing millions of passengers with opportunities to reuse their own water bottles.

The initiative has helped large numbers of travellers keep cool during the hot weather but furthermore, the simple change will have a positive impact the environment – our biggest stations are expected to save up to 1,000 plastic bottles a week.

In June, we outlined even more plans to tackle three significant environmental issues in Britain’s largest and busiest railway stations. By the end of 2020 we will:

  • Ban retailers from supplying plastic cutlery and cups in managed stations
  • Implement a coffee cup recycling scheme for managed stations
  • Expand the role out of coffee ground recycling to all managed stations

Find out how we're providing greener journeys

Our Whitemoor recycling facility