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We are committed to delivering a more sustainable way to operate our railway. We are embracing initiatives to tackle energy and water consumption to manage resources more efficiently: driving down waste, reducing negative impacts on our neighbours and increasing positive impacts.

Our commitment to a sustainable future

As a company, we are committed to taking environment and energy concerns into account in all our decisions. As we work towards minimising the environmental impact of our business, we’re guided by our Environment and Energy Policy:

Our commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed – our efforts continue to earn us recognition for the improvements we are making.

  • Recommendation for Certification to ISO14001, the international standard for environmental management
  • Recommendation for Certification to ISO 50001, the international standard for energy management
  • Environment Award for our groundbreaking ‘Towards a One Planet Railway’ Strategy at the Rail Industry Innovation Awards 2016
  • A member of our team was highly commended for Outstanding Personal Contribution at the National Rail Awards 2016

Setting high standards

Our initiatives to reduce environmental impact, alongside our commitment to improve rail sustainability, align with the One Planet principles making Great Northern very well positioned to become a One Planet Train Operating Company.

The One Planet principles we follow – developed by BioRegional and adapted slightly to better suit our operations – are shown here:

We don’t expect to achieve all of these principles within our franchise term: for example, Zero Carbon is a significant challenge. But the aim of the scheme is to be inspired by long term aspirations and to make clear progress towards these ultimate goals.

If you have any suggestions for how we can further reduce our environmental impacts, email the Environment Team.

Recent achievements

Here are just a few examples of the kind of work that we’ve been doing to meet our environmental goals.

In April 2016 our new strategy ‘Towards a One Planet Railway’ was launched. We are taking a groundbreaking approach to our sustainability work, bringing together objectives around environmental issues with community, health, accessibility and local economy into a single strategy.

Great Northern has trained an enthusiastic team of employees to be Environmental Champions across our network. These Champions are our eyes and ears on the ground, looking and listening for any environmental issues and communicating good practice to their colleagues. 

Great Northern Railway is now fully certified to the most recent version of ISO14001, released in 2015. We are seeking to manage our environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner that contributes to the environmental pillar of sustainability.

ISO 14001:2015 helps Great Northern to achieve the intended outcomes of our environmental management system. This provides enhancement of our environmental performance, fulfilment of compliance obligations and achievement of our environmental objectives.

Great Northern Railway is fully certified to ISO50001 for our Energy Management System.

ISO50001:2011 is our approach to managing energy use and consumption, including measurement, documentation and reporting, design and procurement practices for equipment, systems, processes and personnel that contribute to energy performance.

Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd divert 99% of all waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

The Environment Team works closely with station teams, tenants and cleaning contractors to assess where waste comes from and how it can be managed better. We then liaise with our waste partner to identify our options and implement them. This work relies on positive engagement from everyone on the station with a strong focus on working together to create a community style response. We recycle everything from plastics, paper and textiles, to industrial metal and oil.

All of our stations have had platform lighting upgraded to LED.

LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than conventional lights, converting 95% of energy used in to light with only 5% wasted as heat.