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"Reducing the environmental impact of ScotRail's operations" by Stewart Cahill, ScotRail Head of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability: Glasgow meeting of 21 October 2014

Stewart Cahill, ScotRail Head of Environmental Compliance and Sustainabilityd

Stewart Cahill, ScotRail Head of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability

© John Fender, 2014

Stewart Cahill is ScotRail's Head of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability and is a Chartered Engineer member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. He initially designed mechanical services for buildings in the defence, healthcare and commercial sectors, from where his interest in energy efficiency started. This grew during a twelve year stint at Scottish Power, including a secondment to their Energy Trading Centre where, among other things, he bought and sold renewable energy.

He joined ScotRail in 2006 as their Utilities Manager, which was the platform from which ScotRail developed their Environmental Team comprising specialists to manage the company's main environmental impacts. Stewart is currently the Team Leader.

Stewart began his presentation by outlining the ScotRail's Environmental Management System (EMS) and highlighting some achievements by the Environmental Team such as the development of several initiatives including renewable and fossil fuel generation portfolio at stations and depots, setting up recycling centres at strategic locations and customer recycling facilities at stations.

The business has an environmental management system compliant with ISO14001 and ISO 50001 accreditation. The company is now working towards achieving the Carbon Trust Triple Standard for Carbon (Energy)/Waste/Water and this should be achieved by the end of the year. The Team focuses on such environmental impact as energy, waste, climate, and biodiversity.

All of the Environmental Team are professionally qualified members of the appropriate bodies. ScotRail has 160 "Environmental Champions" who co-ordinate the environmental initiatives at a local level. ScotRail was the winner of the 2014 Scottish Transport Award in the Contribution to Sustainable Transport for their Company's Energy Reduction Strategy.

Major impacts on the environment are from traction energy, accounting for some 92% of carbon emissions and buildings accounting for the remaining 8%. ScotRail has a mix of buildings, ranging from old to new and gas, electricity and heating oil all contribute to emissions.

Typically, stations have either gas or electric heating with 16 stations having gas. Station platform lighting accounts for a sizeable amount of electricity used. Other electrical equipment such as CCTV systems, station information displays and driver only operation also requires monitor screens for the drivers. All stations have an Energy Performance Certificate and sometimes the results are not what were expected. For example, Elgin station, although reasonably modern had a lower than expected figure.

Many buildings are older and energy improvements are being made by investing is, for example, condensing boilers and installing solar panels. ScotRail works with Network Rail in improving energy efficiency, but Network Rail is also constrained by the need to keep its costs down. By working in partnership, ScotRail is able to fund improvements that otherwise would not be made, for example with the installation of new lighting at stations.

Station lighting is one area where significant reductions in emissions can be achieved and the introduction of LED lighting has yielded impressive savings in energy. For example, installing LED lighting at Fort William station resulted in savings of around 45% and so far 26 stations have now had LED lighting installed. Working with Network Rail, ScotRail has funded the difference in cost between using conventional lighting and LED lighting and achieves the benefits.

Wind turbines have been installed at Bathgate depot. A Wind turbine was also installed at Montrose Station and solar panels have been installed at a number of stations, reducing carbon emissions.

Waste is another area that ScotRail has reduced the environmental impact by introducing strategic recycling centres at Yoker depot, Queen Street in Glasgow, and Inverness amongst other locations. Waste from depots and workshops is split into hazardous and non-hazardous waste and treated accordingly. ScotRail has introduced on train recycling and the "recycling on the go" initiative with mini re-cycling centres located at stations for passenger use has proved to be very successful.

The use of water has also been addressed with the installation of smart metering and undertaking leak detection work, led to savings. The use of low volume WC's and percussion taps has also helped cut water consumption and at Corkerhill depot rainwater is collected and used for train washing.

One of the major environmental impacts is traction energy, accounting for around 92% of carbon emissions, the remaining 8% being accounted for by gas, electricity and heating oil. Traction energy covers a large fleet of trains and the company has introduced initiatives to reduce energy consumption. For example, a 7% increase in efficiency has been achieved with the diesel fleet by introducing an eco-driving scheme and by using the driving simulator to train drivers in using more efficient driving techniques.

Reducing the length of time diesel units spend idling has also led to a saving, for example on Class 156 units the time has been cut to 7 minutes after which the engines shut down. On the electric fleet, although on train metering is not installed across all vehicles in the fleet, the Class 334 and 380 units are fitted with on train metering and this has led to substantial savings being achieved.

Looking to the future, the ScotRail franchise has been awarded to Abellio from April 2015 and ScotRail is looking forward to working with Abellio to further improve sustainability.

There was a question and answer session at the end of Stewart's presentation and he answered many questions. John Yellowlees gave the vote of thanks and the Scottish National Officer, Douglas Norris, presented Stewart with one of the Scottish Region's engraved glasses as a token of our appreciation for a most interesting evening.

Report and photographs by John Fender.


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