“The Blueprint underlines how important it is to advance our four pillars of sustainability.”
Avanti West Coast’s Head of Sustainability, Melanie Hockenhull, explains how the operator is contributing to sustainable rail.
8 January 2024
As the rail industry welcomes the Sustainable Rail Blueprint, Avanti West Coast’s Head of Sustainability, Melanie Hockenhull, explains how the operator is contributing to delivering sustainable benefits.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) have presented the rail industry’s view on how to make the railway even more sustainable – with the Sustainable Rail Blueprint. It presents what needs to be delivered, how and by whom, to maximise the benefits for the environment, local communities, and wider society.
The Blueprint provides us with a space to coordinate and engage with industry partners. It allows for a joined up and consistent approach that means the industry and train operators are working in the same area.
"The Blueprint provides added incentives for us to focus on our sustainability work, so we are joined up with the entire industry."
At Avanti West Coast, we’re in a unique position to deliver a sustainable railway. Our footprint across the west coast means we’re well placed to engage with local communities and build strong, vibrant, and sustainable regional economies. We’re also the greener alternative to air travel and the use of private vehicles. We must make sure we preserve this position by delivering initiatives that support that.
The Blueprint provides added incentives for us to focus on our sustainability work, so we are joined up with the entire industry. Our Responsible Plan – our 10-year sustainability strategy – will contribute to the three key pillars of emissions, natural environment, and social sustainability. It broadly aligns with the Blueprint – both have a focus on similar core goals and integrate both social and environmental sustainability.
The Blueprint underlines how important it is that we continue to advance our four pillars of sustainability (planet, people, customers, and communities) to keep up with the wider industry ambition. Our work within these four areas contribute to the Blueprint’s six solutions of how the rail industry can deliver its sustainability objectives.
Our new Hitachi fleet will contribute to the solution of zero emission traction. We also have a decarbonisation pathway (processes to reduce emissions) and are developing an air quality improvement plan.
We’re committed to enabling seamless journeys and are developing this through our station travel plans to help people make greener journey choices.
To play our part in nature-based solutions, we’re assessing the impact of development across our network on biodiversity to help identify where we can best promote the natural world.
Engaging with our communities, creating an accessible and inclusive rail network, and making a positive impact to the environment and society in the regions we serve is a key area of our work in generating social value.
While we collect data for an array of subjects within the environment and social areas, we’re working with the RSSB to understand how this can best feed into an industry agreed framework, so it is aligned.
As a Sustainability Team we want to enthuse and empower all colleagues to identify opportunities and drive forward initiatives in both Our Responsible Plan and the Sustainable Rail Blueprint – helping to develop a culture for sustainability. Everyone is responsible for sustainability, and the Blueprint amplifies how we all have a part to play.
Images (top to bottom): Melanie Hockenhull (Head of Sustainability at Avanti West Coast); Pendolino train at Glasgow Central station; Member of Avanti West Coast Accessibility Panel at London Euston; Avanti West Coast Community Champions host activity for children at Bee Sanctuary.