European Commission and railways strengthen cooperation to increase rail’s climate resilience
30 April 2013 • Author: CER
Today, the European Commission and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) exchanged views on how to concretely implement the EU’s climate change adaptation strategy in the rail sector. All stakeholders present welcomed the adoption of the strategy and recognised the importance of having an economically sound and sustainable transport sector with a strong rail element. As a main outcome of the workshop, participants agreed on a number of key elements for a possible ‘masterplan’ to implement climate change adaptation in the rail sector.
The rail sector is regularly affected by extreme weather events, which will occur with even higher frequencies and intensities in the next decades. Railway activities towards a more resilient railway system have already started. Representatives of the rail sector including the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) presented their dedicated activities and strategies in the area. Participants recognised that further investment support both from the EU and Member States is needed to allow a gradual replacement of the components of the rail system.
The European Commission presented the content of the strategy. In particular, the Commission will mandate standardisation bodies in 2013 to start mapping industry-relevant standards in the area of transport. These bodies will identify standards to be revised for better inclusion of adaptation factors. Rail representatives welcomed this action as a positive step towards a more resilient rail system.
The fruitful discussion led to the conclusion that the Commission and the rail sector will further support each other’s initiatives in enhancing the rail sector’s resilience. The involved parties will look in particular at the following areas: continuous research towards more accurate climate forecasts, standardization and funding opportunities. Furthermore, the final roundtable discussion provided a number of key elements for a possible future ‘masterplan’ to implement climate change adaptation in the rail sector. CER, together with all relevant stakeholders, will continue to elaborate this ‘masterplan’ in the coming months to make a more climate-resilient railway system reality.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “CER is glad to further strengthen its cooperation with the European Commission in adapting entire rail system to climate change challenges. Today’s workshop showed that, apart from the railway’s ongoing activities, it is important to work together with other stakeholders to better support each other’s activities in the implementation of the climate change adaptation strategy.”
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