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Last updated: 10:34

Our commitment to the environment 

We believe in green public transport – with rail travel being one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Even though rail travel accounts for 10% of passenger miles (2019), it is responsible for just 1% of all transport emissions. We want to help reduce climate impacts by encouraging people off the roads onto our services. Operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way is important to us. 

Did you know a single train can remove up to 500 cars from our roads?

Meeting your needs in an environmentally responsible way

Southeastern works together with industry partners, contractors, and suppliers to reduce our environmental impact and measure and report on our performance. We’re always looking for ways to improve how we work and go beyond what the law and regulation require of us – we know it’s what our passengers want and expect.

Some of our achievements to date;
  • We are proud to have achieved accreditation across the Southeastern business for ISO 14001 (Environment Management System) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management System).  
  • Our train fleets are electric with energy purchased from nuclear and renewable generation, see further down the page for more info.
  • Three quarters of our trains feature special technology that generates electrical energy when the trains are braking to slow down – this is called regenerative braking. This energy is fed back into the system to power other trains. This results in 10% less electrical energy being needed to power our trains.
  • We will be modifying our high-speed trains so that they also regenerate electricity between St Pancras and Ashford, we estimate that this will reduce their energy use by 16.5%. This change has required detailed technical work.  They can already do this regeneration on the remainder of our network.
  • The train stations and buildings that we manage and operate (including our train servicing depots) are powered by electricity purchased from by renewable generation with one depot powered electricity from nuclear sources, see further down the page for more info.
  • We have installed almost 2,900 solar roof panels in our train servicing depots. In 2020/21 these solar panels produced enough electricity to power 166 households.
  • We continue to replace lighting in our stations and train servicing depots with energy efficient LED lights. LED lights aren’t just more efficient, they provide better lighting and need less maintenance.

Recent environmental statistics - 1 April 2021 – 26 June 2021 (2021/22 P01 – P03)

Environmental measure Data
Carbon (KgCO2e)  Market based  Location based
Carbon emissions per passenger journey (kgCO2ppj)  0.012
Carbon emissions kg carbon per vehicle mile  0.007
Site electric (kWh)  4,348,946
Site gas (kWh)  1,265,307
Site solar (kWh)  211,695
Train electricity fuel efficiency (vehicle miles per kWh)  0.276
Waste recycled  18.1%
Waste landfilled
Waste subject to other recovery (e.g. Incineration)
Complaints in respect of noise  3
Environment incidents reported, included any enforcement action  3

Methodology, scope and exclusions
Carbon reporting relates to Scope 1 &2 and includes electricity and gas, does not include fugitive emissions from air conditioning equipment (where this is available) and estimates of emission from road vehicle use.
Scope 2 emissions include both a 'location' and a 'market' basis. This dual reporting applies to CO2e emissions arising from our electricity consumption only. The location based method uses the national average carbon factors for mains electricity which takes the total mix of fuels used to generate electricity. 2020 DEFRA carbon factors have been used in this report. The market-based method uses supplier or product specific carbon factors (where available), which reflect supply between the supplier and customer.
Energy use reflects in year use which includes estimations, which also influences carbon reported here, so energy and carbon use is subject to change at year end. Noise complaints do not include complaints related to train horns.

Did you know?

  • We use technology to generate energy when many of our trains brake and return it as electricity to the rail system
  • We have upgraded our lighting at a number of stations and depots to a new energy efficient LED system, reducing energy use
  • We monitor our water consumption with meters and work to fix leaks

The future

We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and to a net zero carbon impact. Under our new owners we are working on our plan for our journey to net zero and will share this plan during 2022. In the meantime, we continue to manage our environmental impacts by;

  • Investing in energy improvements
  • Diverting a high level of waste from landfill
  • Encouraging our colleagues to look at new ways that we can reduce the environmental impact of our activities 

Our use of electricity generated from renewable and nuclear sources

Renewable electricity is purchased to power our trains between St Pancras and Ashford International. This energy is provided to us by HS1 who maintain the high-speed network.

We also purchase electricity generated from renewable sources to power the stations and buildings we operate and manage (except for one train servicing depot).

These supplies of electricity are sourced through the national grid with consumption matched to renewable energy guarantee of origin certificates.

Nuclear generated electricity, provided through the national grid, is sourced to power our metro and mainline services and one train servicing depot. This energy is provided to us by Network Rail who maintain the metro and mainline rail network.

Our environmental and energy policy

Through innovation, we will drive continual environmental and energy improvements.

Curious to learn more? 

Download our Statement of Environmental and Energy Policy

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