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Low Carbon Means of Holiday Transport

The summer holiday season is upon us! As we welcome the summer many of us take the opportunity for a well-deserved break, to unwind, relax and spend some quality time with friends and family. Holidays can take a fair bit of planning and there can be many aspects to consider. From where you would like to go, when you are going to travel, booking accommodation, activities and possibly even checking that your passport is in date (!). However, amongst the decision making, how does the environmental impacts of how you travel come into consideration?  

In the latest of our LCA blog series we take a look at lifecycle analysis assessments for holiday travel options. We have taken 4 means of transport for a journey from London to Paris in the following formats:

  • Rail (Based on the Eurostar)
  • Car (Combustion Engine – London to Paris)
  • Car (Electric – London to Paris)
  • Air (Flight from Heathrow to Charles De Gaule)

As shown below (per person), the results indicate that travel by rail is considerably more environmentally friendly than air travel which emits roughly 25 times more carbon. Electric and combustion engine cars in relation to the train are around 19 and 30 times worse for carbon emissions, respectively.

In summary, transport via rail is certainly a much lower carbon option. So, when the carbon stacks so strongly in favour of train travel, why aren’t we all using the trains for our upcoming holidays, or even our everyday travel?! Balancing the cost of carbon within the wider context of our everyday decision making can often mean that we have to make our decisions based on other priorities and there are many factors that come into play that we have to consider:

  • How much will each option cost? Return trains via the Eurostar London to Paris costs in the region of £250 whereas a return flight can cost less than £100. This is a failure of the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
  • What is the total time to undertake the journey? By way of comparison the Eurostar London to Paris has a journey time of 2hr 16 mins vs 1hr 20mins flight time (excluding any time for changes, or passing through security).
  • What are the practicalities involved in each choice? Sometimes, particularly where more than one person is travelling, loading up a car can be much more practical than having to think about wheeling your suitcase down the narrow aisle of a train, it also can provide more flexibility with travel in and around your destination.

In times of economic downturn and inflation, we understand that it is tricky to find the balance.

The choice is ultimately individual, and sustainability means weighing up all key priorities – this blog aims to inform the environmental priority, through the lens of a carbon assessment, as we plan ahead to holidays and travel in the future.

If you have any further questions on the specifics of the models or would like to know more, feel free to reach out to us!

Credibly Green provide technical advice to clients on all things carbon. See or call 01746 552423 or email