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Eurostar to run carbon-neutral rides

Offsetting all the diesel…

A couple of mates have gone to Paris today on the Eurostar’s maiden voyage from London St Pancras Station.

Eurostar tells us the journey:

  • Is a 186 mph service from a wonderfully restored station using High Speed 1 signal a new era in short-haul travel
  • Cuts journey times cut by at least 20 minutes
  • Will become carbon neutral at no extra cost

That means offsetting the carbon, not running on eco-fuels or anything so clever.

In a ceremony before departure, Eurostar Chief Executive Richard Brown and Friends of the Earth executive director Tony Juniper named the train ‘Tread Lightly’ – the title of Eurostar’s initiative to reduce its environmental impact.

The naming marked Eurostar becoming the world’s first train operator to offer carbon neutral journeys, at no extra cost to travellers. On board ‘Tread Lightly’ for the journey on the UK’s first 186 mph railway were 400 members of the public, invited to travel in recognition of their efforts to reduce environmental impacts at a national level or in their local communities.

Tony Juniper, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said:

“Today is a landmark day for green travel and the first step towards making short-haul flights a thing of the past. Eurostar shows that short-haul rail travel is not only better for the environment than flying, but that it can also be quicker, easier and more comfortable as well.

“The Government should now do all it can to encourage people to switch from planes to trains for the short distances between Europe’s great cities. It must include emissions from aircraft in its proposed Climate Change Law. We need a revolution in the way we travel in order to tackle climate change and rail is the way forward.”

Under its ‘Tread Lightly’ initiative, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012. Independent research has already shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris or Brussels generates one-tenth of the carbon dioxide produced by an equivalent flight.

Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are now official partners in Britain, and collaborate on the development of Eurostar’s ‘Tread Lightly’ initiative, and Friends of the Earth’s ‘The Big Ask’ campaign.

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