Translink drives forward environmental performance

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons Eco driving, water efficiency and greener infrastructure are all part of Translink’s sustainability commitment.

Investment in passenger transport is building a more sustainable Northern Ireland. An additional 1.5 million more fare paying passengers used Translink bus and rail services in 2012-2013 compared to the previous year.

Overall, 78.5 million passenger journeys were made and, through this patronage, Translink removes more than 60,000 cars from the roads in Northern Ireland on a daily basis. This provides a net reduction in local carbon emissions of over 50,000 tonnes per annum.

As a large business with vehicles and facilities throughout Northern Ireland, Translink recognises its responsibility to operate as efficiently as possible. Its strategic approach to sustainable business has received high profile industry recognition including The Carbon Trust Standard, top ‘Platinum’ status in the ARENA Network NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey and a Number 1 Northern Ireland ranking in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme.

These achievements reflect a company-wide effort to improve environmental performance as the following initiatives demonstrate.

Following two successful pilot schemes, the company has launched an ‘Eco Driving’ scheme across bus operations. Approximately 1,160 vehicles are now equipped with new Eco Driving technology and, combined with driver training, project benefits include: reduced fuel usage (to date, some 1 million litres of fuel have been saved); improved driving skills; reduced insurance costs; fleet management (monitoring vehicle location); and historical data for complaint investigation.

Translink’s Group Chief Executive Catherine Mason is Business in the Community Northern Ireland Biodiversity Champion encouraging business best practice in protecting plant and animal species and habitats. Translink’s Biodiversity Project has included a range of innovative stakeholder engagement actions such as donating wood chips from railway line vegetation clearance to a local community group, organising corporate volunteering events and launching a ‘BioBuzz’ passenger biodiversity spotting campaign.

Translink has continued to review its approach to waste recycling, working closely with Wastebeater. Currently, around 90 per cent of all Translink waste is recovered/recycled and the company’s focus is now on reducing and reusing.

Translink has installed energy efficient lighting as well as company-wide installation of voluntary half-hourly electricity metering and converted heating systems to run on natural gas instead of oil.

An employee ‘Go Eco’ energy awareness programme has been rolled out and Translink facilities have delivered a £400,000 saving on energy costs over the past three years.

Water efficiency will also be a key focus in the company’s annual TIDY Translink Awards designed to improve the environmental performance and corporate responsibility of local stations, depots and offices.

Environmental performance is also a key priority for Translink’s infrastructure projects. For example, Antrim Bus and Rail Centre, which is due to officially open this September, will be Northern Ireland’s first sustainable low carbon station. Recently, a European transport delegation visited the station site as an example of best practice in eco-refurbishment with features including roof mounted solar panels, a natural ventilation system and insulated green roof, a geothermal heating system, grey-water harvesting, reclaimed clay facing brick and triple glazed curtain walling.

Translink’s focus on environmental performance has delivered important business benefits from substantially reducing energy costs year on year to cutting carbon emissions and enhancing the company’s public image. Looking ahead, further investment in passenger transport and encouraging more people to use the bus and train are both essential for continued economic, environmental and social well-being in Northern Ireland.

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