Environmental impact: emissions, land use, waste, water and noise

The negative environmental impact is the result of using fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels causes air pollution through emissions of e.g. CO2, SO2, NOx and fine particulates. This has a negative impact on climate, nature and health, resulting in social costs. This negative impact is declining at NS because it is increasingly using entirely green power for trains and buildings. Land use, waste, water consumption and noise nuisance also result in negative environmental impacts. Compared with cars, trains have a positive environmental impact. Travelling by train avoids some air pollution in fact, because pollution produced by the train – along with the public transport bicycle – is relatively low compared to car journeys and alternatives for transport to and from the station. The positive impact on noise and land use compared with the care concerns the roads and noise abatement measures that are not required because passengers are opting for the train. We have only calculated the positive environmental impact compared with the care for ‘elective passengers’, i.e. those who are willing and able to make a choice between the car and the train.

Negative environmental impact
Positive impact with respect to cars

Our negative environmental impact improved by €21 million in 2017, mainly due to the switch to using wind energy from 2015 onwards. This meant that 100% of the energy used by our trains and buildings was from new green power sources in 2017. The positive environmental impact of travel with NS compared to using the car rose to €283 million as a result.
The current negative environmental impact was about €85 million (this was €106 million in 2016), breaking down into about €25 million as direct consequences of NS, and about €60 million in the chain as a whole including transport to and from the station, the manufacture of the trains, plus electricity and infrastructure.