Climate change adaptation

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the railway today.

The weather over the past few years has seen unprecedented rainfall, storms and heatwaves all of which have taken a toll on our railway.

Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather and we are planning now in order to keep passengers and services safe and moving.

Delivering environmental sustainability and making the railway more resilient to extreme weather and climate change are priorities for the UK and Scottish Government and our customers and is one of the key ambitions in our Environment and Sustainability Strategy.

Adaptation reports 2021

Since the introduction of the Adaptation Reporting Power for Defra under the Climate Change Act 2008 we have produced an Adaptation Report for Defra every 5 years summarising our progress towards understanding the potential impacts of climate change on the performance and safety of the rail network, and the actions taken to increase our resilience. The latest version can be accessed below.

There’s no such thing as certainty about the long-term impact of climate change on Britain’s weather conditions, but we’re working hard to get it right by using the most up-to-date technical data and expertise. We are developing technical guidance and tools to support our staff and contractors with understanding and managing the impacts of climate change across the railway.

We also work with government, regulators, the rail industry, other infrastructure operators and a wide range of other stakeholders to share knowledge and learn from each other as we all try to manage the climate change challenge.

Our strategies and plans are living documents to the Department for Transport documents don’t respond to the consultation and reflect our current plans which largely align to DfT’s strategy

Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation (WRCCA) plans

Regional WRCCA plans 2024 – 2029

Network Rail is divided into five regions and fourteen routes.  We produce local level weather resilience and climate change adaptation plans that explain our understanding of how weather and climate change can affect our infrastructure at a more targeted, local level.

Our Regions have developed Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Plans for the next five years (2024–2029). These identify the risks to our assets and outline how we’re developing our understanding of them. We’ll use them to make informed decisions on actions and investment to improve our resilience during CP7, and longer term. We’ve developed our CP7 plans to support the delivery of our two funders’ and our stakeholders’ key priorities. They therefore include interventions that mean we can minimise and adapt to the impact of extreme weather and climate change, and put in place schemes that make our business more sustainable.

The CP7 WRCCA Plans were finalised and issued to the Office of Rail and Road alongside Network Rail’s CP7 Delivery Plan in March 2024. On 3 April 2024, DfT published a consultation on adaptation of the transport system in the UK. Our plans broadly align with DfT’s strategy and our wider work on climate change adaptation will delivery key actions identified for Network Rail.

Route weather resilience plans 2019 – 2024

Route weather resilience plans 2014 – 2019

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