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MP visit emphasises necessity of rail decarbonisation

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An MP has underlined the importance of decarbonisation, and its value to rail enterprise, after visiting an electrification business.

MP for Ashfield, Lee Anderson, visited Van Elle, the UK’s largest specialist geotechnical engineering contractor. The business carries out a range of ground engineering techniques and services including ground investigation, general and specialist piling, rail geotechnical engineering, modular foundations, and ground improvement and stabilisation services.

Lee spoke to the company’s representatives about their electrification projects as well as challenges for the future of decarbonisation and rail. He toured the site, viewed a demonstration, and met their staff.

The visit was part of the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme, which encourages MPs to gain hands-on experience of the rail sector, with site visits taking place in their local area. Lee is the sixth MP to take part since the programme began hosting physical visits again after the 2021 Covid-19 lockdown.

RIA have been vocal in campaigning on electrification. Their RailDecarb21 campaign launched this year calling for the government to begin a rolling programme of electrification.

Lee Anderson MP

Lee said: “It was fantastic to visit Van Elle today, a company that can lead the charge in decarbonising our rail network. Whilst rail is a small contributor to carbon emissions, it will nevertheless be essential in supporting a Net Zero economy.

“Businesses like Van Elle show that decarbonising rail – and electrifying railway lines – can support jobs and investment, helping provide new opportunities for people in Ashfield and beyond.

“It has been a great opportunity to find out more about the work Van Elle do – so I’d like to thank the team here, and the Railway Industry Association for supporting the visit as part of their Rail Fellowship Programme.”

David Buckley, Van Elle.

David Buckley, rail director at Van Elle said: “Today was such an important opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities to support the decarbonisation of the UK’s railways as the network commits to a greener future for all.

“Having Lee Anderson MP join us to not only hear about how we are able to support electrification programmes across the UK, but also see our Kirkby test track in use and learn more about our specialist equipment, was a real pleasure.

“Our thanks to Lee and our colleagues at RIA for joining us.”

David Clarke, Railway Industry Association.

David Clarke, technical director at the RIA said: “As our Rail Decarbonisation 21 campaign highlights, electrification is crucial for the UK to reach net zero and will help support green jobs in all corners of the country.

“We were delighted to welcome Lee Anderson MP on site to meet Van Elle and learn about how electrification can be delivered cost-effectively and on schedule. This will be key to delivering the rolling programme the Government committed to in its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan. We thank Lee for his support.”

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