A new challenge for SME businesses is being launched to help make transporting goods on the UK’s railways cleaner and greener.
The University of Derby, Rail Supply Group, Rail Forum Midlands, and Tarmac are spearheading the challenge to identify Opportunities for Decarbonising Freight by inviting SMEs to put forward ideas for solutions and find opportunities to work together.
The launch takes place online at 3pm on 21 October and the task set for SMEs is linked to the Government’s Rail Sector Deal, which gave the industry a number of targets back in 2018, including delivering a sustainable rail network and promoting SME growth through collaboration.
The University of Derby’s Rail Research and Innovation Centre opened in 2019, backed by £900,000 from D2N2’s Local Growth Fund, with the aim of promoting innovation and collaboration within the rail sector supply chain industries across the region.
In the same year, the University joined forces with Derby City and Derbyshire county councils to unveil the DE-Carbonise project, an extension to the successful D2EE Low Carbon initiative.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the three-year project is designed to help local businesses reduce their carbon output.
Professor Warren Manning, Provost of Innovation and Research at the University of Derby said: “The University is very much at the forefront of the work being done regionally and across specific industry sectors to cut the nation’s carbon output.”
“Working with the Rail Forum and Tarmac, as well as a number of other industry partners, we are keen to show that rail has got enormous potential to help meet the UK’s zero carbon emissions target date of 2050.”
“The evidence is there to show how much ‘cleaner’ it is than transporting goods over long distances by road. However, to meet the rail sector deal aim of a sustainable rail network, we need to find ways of addressing a range of complex issues facing our rail network which not only incentivise the use of rail for a larger share of the nation’s freight journeys but also make great strides in the pursuit of carbon-free transport.
“The SMEs we hope will take part in this challenge will offer great expertise and specialist knowledge, the sum of which will deliver real innovation for the rail sector.”