The high-speed railway linking London, Kent and the Channel Tunnel is set to become the first train line in the UK to run entirely on renewable energy.

The rail operator announced the news at the virtual launch of its sustainability strategy last week, stating that HS1 will be powered by sustainable sources including wind and solar energy. The company has secured Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates from its electricity supplier, confirming that the energy used by its trains and at its railway stations is from renewable sources.

HS1 is working with its international and domestic partners Eurostar and Southeastern High Speed to reduce the carbon footprint of every passenger by 25 per cent and cut energy per train journey by 10 per cent.

The rail operator has also set out additional targets in a bid to cement its reputation as the Green Gateway to Europe. These include a pledge to be fully carbon neutral within the next ten years, and promises to send no non-hazardous waste to landfill by 2022 and recycle 90 per cent of all waste by 2023.

Dyan Crowther, CEO of HS1 Ltd, commented:

“HS1 is the Green Gateway to Europe. The UK’s only high-speed railway already delivers phenomenal environmental benefits to the UK and beyond. We are helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint while still enjoying safe, fast and reliable travel at home and abroad.

“As we recover from the Covid crisis, environmental challenges will move further up the political and public agenda, and HS1 can provide a lasting solution to sustainable travel.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, was also in attendance and added:

“We are absolutely committed to driving forward a greener, cleaner and more efficient railway, and it is fantastic to see HS1 making such significant strides towards decarbonising their network.

“Offering passengers more sustainable, greener forms of transport is crucial to achieving our bold and ambitious vision for a net zero carbon transport system by 2050.”

The international section of the train line already removes the equivalent of 60,000 short-haul flights each year, while domestic services remove 6,000 lorries and cars from the roads annually.

We recently reported on HS1’s request for government support owing to the impact of Covid-19 on Eurostar services.