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The potential for water pollution from railways (C643)

The operation of a railway has the potential to give rise to pollution as water drains from the railway into watercourses. The ollutants carried by water may arise from a wide variety of sources. The rail industry as a whole already has obligations to minimise actual pollution and the risk of pollution from its activities. The introduction of the EU Water Framework Directive will increase those obligations.This short report summarises a study that has looked at the legislative framework, the overall structure of the railway industry in the UK, the potential sources of pollution, the responsibilities for pollution, the availability of guidance on good practice, and actions that may need to be taken. Although the study that led to this report focused on railway activities in mainland Britain the guidance is also likely to be applicable elsewhere in the European Union.

The report is essential reading for anyone who has responsibilities for operational management or environmental management of railway activities. It will also help Environment Agency staff to understand the complexities of railway operations and the types of pollution that may arise.

Key words: water quality, pollution prevention, rivers and waterways, transport infrastructure, regulation.

ISBN: 978-0-86017-643-5
Author: M Osborne, K Montague
Number of pages: 24 (paperback)
Publisher: CIRIA
Date of Publication: March 2005