The Go-Ahead Group has sets out a new strategy to achieve a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2035, and becoming a fully carbon neutral company by 2045. The company claims that its targets are the most ambitious in the industry and will be achieved through a combination of investment in zero-carbon technology, a crackdown on waste and a significant increase in reuse and recycling of materials.
Submitted to the Science Based Targets Initiative for ratification, Go-Ahead says the timetable is in keeping with an overall mission set under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050. Changes to Go-Ahead’s business will be accompanied by initiatives to encourage active travel, and the company has called on the government to encourage a shift from car use to walking, cycling and public transport.
At the heart of Go-Ahead’s strategy will be a wholesale shift in technology from diesel power to zero-carbon modes of transport – including electric and hydrogen power.
David Brown, chief executive, Go-Ahead Group, says: “Climate change is the number one challenge facing society and in order to address it, we must make radical changes to the way we travel. If we’re serious about protecting the health of our planet, then businesses such as Go-Ahead must show leadership.
“Our climate change plan is ambitious but deliverable, and is consistent with international goals of limiting any increase in global temperature to 1.5°C. We will play our part by decarbonising our business and by investing in environmentally sustainable technology. We hope our commitment will be matched by a broader shift in public policy on transport by encouraging people to walk or cycle where possible, use buses and trains as an alternative but only use a car if absolutely necessary.”
One initiative which will move forward this summer is the implementation of ‘bus to grid’ energy at Northumberland Park depot in north London. This project, in partnership with SSE Enterprise, BYD, Leeds University and UK Power Networks, will turn the bus depot into a virtual power station, with electric batteries from buses able to feed energy back into the grid at times of high demand.
Northumberland Park is the largest electric bus depot in Europe. An initial trial will use batteries from 28 double-deck buses, capable of returning over a megawatt of energy to the grid.