UK rail stations latest to introduce free drinking water

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Network Rail, the public body which manages the UK’s rail infrastructure, has announced plans to provide free drinking water across all of its railway stations.

The company will start with a trial at London’s Charing Cross station at the end of March with the aim of installing all 18 of its major railway hubs with facilities by the end of the year.

These include all of the busiest railway stations in the UK, such as London Waterloo, Victoria, and Birmingham New Street, which cater for tens of millions of passengers each year.

In a statement, Network Rail said the plan forms part of its “wider ambitions to reduce the impact of plastic waste at its stations”. Providing free drinking water is seen as an important way of reducing the prevalence of single-use plastic bottles.

David Biggs, Network Rail’s managing director of property, commented: “By introducing free water fountains at our managed stations we can make a simple change that not only helps quench the thirst of station users, but also has a positive impact on our sustainability ambitions by reducing single-use plastics. We’re looking forward to the introduction of these water fountains and the benefits they will bring the public and the environment”

The move is the latest in a string of announcements which seek to provide drinking stations to combat the chronic problem of plastic waste. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently announced a similar plan to roll-out a £750,000 initiative across five areas in the city. The water industry has gone one step further and endorsed a campaign to provide every major and town in England with free bottle-refill stations by 2021.

Image Credit: Michał Parzuchowski

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