The ISO-14001:2015, the latest environmental standard to be issued by the global certification body NQA, was barely a few minutes old when Northern Rail qualified for accreditation last month. The standard was issued on 15th September and the very same day, NQA announced that the rail company had complied with its stringent regulations and achieved the first certificate for the newly-created ISO.
“Exceptional Corporate Leadership”
Managing Director for the NQA Matt Gantley was effusive in his praise for the train organisation, saying their actions in meeting environmental standards (even before the ISO was in print) showed “exceptional corporate leadership”.
“Northern Rail is the first in the world to achieve certification with NQA to the new ISO 14001:2015 standard. Northern’s customers can be more confident of choosing a service provider that protects and improves our environment,” said Gantley in a statement on the NQA website. “As an ISO 14001 certified business, Northern can better conserve or replenish the resources we need for our economy to prosper in the future. Congratulations to all of Northern Rail’s people, for leading the way.”
Northern Rail’s Managing Director Alex Hynes was over the moon to accept the accreditation for his company. “Northern is delighted to have achieved this standard. We’ve worked hard to embed a business-wide strategy for environmental management, from managing our energy use to pollution prevention. Our approach enables us to address challenges collaboratively with our people, making sure we are all contributing to sustainable improvements in our environmental performance,” said Hynes.
“We are committed to ensuring Northern is at the heart of an environmentally responsible public transport network in the North,” he went on. “In addition to our environmental management and protection initiatives, we continue to grow our electric fleet. As we look ahead to the new Northern franchise in April next year we will continue to champion investment in new trains.”
Fears over Future of Rail Network Abated?
There had been concern that increased regulations on air quality in general and emissions from rail freight in particular could harm the sector. The Non-Road Mobile Machinery Directive (NMMD), which came into effect back in 2011, was feared to have spelled the beginning of the end for freight trains. However, in the intervening time, the industry has not suffered too serious a setback – and their passenger counterparts are apparently excelling at meeting environmental regulations.
Meanwhile in the United States, the development of the Locomotive Catalyzed Continuously Regenerating Trap (L-CCRT) last year met the even more rigorous air quality laws imposed on American trains by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As such, the diesel particulate filter technology shows that sustained freight industry is compatible with a cleaner tomorrow – and Northern Rail’s environmental first only underlines the fact that the trains of Britain (and indeed of the world) do have a place in an environmentally-conscious future.