Information published on 15 April 2014 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 394.

15th UIC Environment, Energy & Sustainability (EES) Platform (Paris, 9 April 2014)

  • Sustainable development

The 15th UIC Environment, Energy & Sustainability (EES) Platform met at UIC HQ in Paris on 9 April 2014. UIC presented the latest sustainability activities, three proposals for opt-in 2015 and a number of items for information.

The meeting started with an introduction and welcome by Jerzy Wisniewski (UIC Fundamental Values Director) and Willy Bontinck (SNCB & Platform Chair). Following this François Maugere (UIC) announced the UIC Innovation Awards and invited Willy Bontinck to judge the category for Sustainable Development. François Maugere then presented an overview of European funded research including an update on the scope of Shift2Rail and also the UIC Consortia. It was noted that two key topics for sustainability, energy & noise will be represented as transversal themes cutting across the Shift2Rail pillars.

This was followed by a political update from Ethem Pekin of CER, covering the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, 2014 Handbook of External Costs of Transport, Rail Freight Noise Roadmap, NRMM, F-gases: COM (2012) 643, Mega Trucks, the risk of a Creosote Ban & consultation on the Introduction of a standardised carbon footprint methodology.

The next item presented by Veronica Aneris (UIC) looked at monitoring of progress towards the UIC-CER Sustainable Mobility targets and ESRS update. The four targets were reviewed (Climate Protection, Energy Efficiency, Exhaust Emissions and Noise and Vibrations) and good progress in all categories noted. It was also observed that the ERSR Methodology is approved and available to download and the new online data collection tool is already in use by 76% of members (29 out of 38 UIC European Members). It was announced that the Zero Carbon project will hold its concluding workshop in conjunction with CER on 19 May at UIC in Paris.

Nick Craven (UIC) presented an overview of the activities of the Sustainable Development Unit; this was followed by updates from the Expert Networks; Energy & CO2, Noise & Vibration, Emissions, Sustainable Mobility & Sustainable Land Use. Three new projects for opt-in 2015 were proposed and approved, which includes a series of Energy & CO2 workshops, a project looking at improving energy efficiency through managing smoother train traffic and a project on climate change adaptation (COALA). The EES unit budget for 2015 was presented and approved by the platform.

The latest information on the programme for the 2014 Energy Efficiency Day conference was presented. This major UIC conference will be jointly organised by UIC, SNCB and Infrabel and held in the historical city of Antwerp in Belgium, from 16 to 19 June 2014. The event will include two important parallel events: the 9th Eress Forum and the EU Co-Funded MERLIN project mid-term conference. The conference theme is Energy Efficiency is the best fuel to move our trains: it extends energy supplies, increases energy security, lowers CO2 emissions, improves air quality and supports sustainable economic growth. Registration is free, but participants are encouraged to sign up early to secure their place. To register and see the latest information visit the conference website www.energy-efficiency-days.org.

Airy Magnien (UIC) joined the meeting to present the first steps of a UIC study on the socio-economic benefit of rail, this item was followed by engaging Q&A sessions. A technical presentation on wayside monitoring of rail noise was then given by Ward Verhelst (InfraBel) before an overview of activities by the UIC Freight Department and possible areas for co-operation was presented by Miklós Kopp (UIC Freight Director).

The final item reviewed UIC global action for sustainable development. These included a side event in Warsaw at COP19, a presentation at the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations in New York, a presentation on the strong environmental performance of rail to the UNECE Inland Transport Committee in Geneva. Proposals for a global rail sector climate change and modal shift challenge were presented, this will be used to highlight the benefit of investment in rail at the UN Climate Summit in September. Finaly, an outline of the Train4Paris campaign was presented, a call for members of the steering group will be issued in the coming months.

For further information please contact Nick Craven, Head of UIC Sustainable Development Unit: craven@uic.org