The transport sector, including rail, has been at the forefront of the UK Government's initiatives aiming to assist the country's goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050. In 2018, the Government published its Road to Zero strategy which sets how it will support the transition to zero emission road transport. The Department for Transport also challenged the rail industry to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040. In March 2020, the Government further released a document under a heading 'Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge' stating the current challenges and steps to be taken when developing the transport decarbonisation plan. The UK Government is now proposing to end the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles by as soon as 2030 and has just announced that it plans to speed up the UK’s reduction in carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

The use of low-carbon emission vehicles or sustainable alternatives is essential to reduce reliance on fossil fuels before 2030. The procurement of sustainable transport services can be impacted in a number of ways, including through the system of rail franchising. 

Adoption of the Sustainable Connectivity clause in rail franchise agreements has the potential to help parties to rail franchise agreements to achieve their Net Zero targets. Where relevant to the subject matter of the contract, the full version of the clause can be used to create obligations for rail franchise operators to use a certain percentage of low-emissions vehicles when providing ancillary transport.

Clyde & Co is proud to be assisting clients interested in adopting climate-conscious clauses into their contracts. Please reach out to me or one of our climate change experts if this clause is of interest.  

This post is part of a series of short updates summarising the precedent clauses drafted in the course of collaborative hackathons organised by The Chancery Lane Project.  Clyde & Co held its own hackathon in partnership with The Chancery Lane Project in July 2020, and has taken a leading role in the Big Hack, another hackathon organised centrally by The Chancery Lane Project throughout autumn 2020.