Nexus has published an Environment and Sustainability Strategy to recognise the important role we play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, clean air, improving biodiversity and the need for climate change resilience for the reliability of our transport operations.

Our vision is to continue to serve the North-East with the cleanest, greenest mode of transport. We want to put passengers first, helping passengers to make green choices whilst supporting our strong local communities. Nexus already provides the most sustainable mode of public transport in Tyne and Wear. This strategy sets out a case for change, challenging what Nexus does now and identifying attractive opportunities and proposals. 

This strategy aims to deliver significant improvements to sustainability at Nexus, engraining it into the culture through policy, KPIs and project proposals.

The strategy focuses on reducing environmental impacts across four main themes, they are as follows: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Waste Management, improving Biodiversity and Climate Resilience (i.e. preparing for the impacts of climate change). The strategy vision is as follows: 

“Nexus is committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environment through minimising the environmental impact of our operations. We aim for ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions whilst building a more resilient, reliable public transport network”.


Based upon an analysis of our position versus competitors, industry leaders and other public transport operators, the main recommendations are as follows:

Initial Position

  • Define the baseline - Emissions, Waste Volumes, Electricity Intensity.


  • Commitment to a minimum annual reduction of 8% GHG emissions. 
  • Creation of annual internal and public reports relating to environmental performance.

Evaluation and Improvement

  • Recruit talent with a passion for sustainability. 
  • Creation of a centralised “Sustainability Fund” to provide investment for energy saving projects.
  • Develop plans to prioritise decarbonisation on each bus route we operate. 
  • Establish specification and locations for EV infrastructure and enable EV investment by providing annual road fleet budgets over a 5-year period and ring-fence cost savings. 
  • Improving station architecture to better consider “green” features.
  • Creation of a Biodiversity Action Plan to enhance habitats and a Climate Adaptation Report to tackle key infrastructure vulnerabilities associated with climate change. 
  • Aim for Biodiversity Net Gain on some major projects.

See our Environment and Sustainability Strategy attached below.

Our initiatives

IS014001 - Shields Ferry Environment Management System
Nexus has implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) in conformance with the internationally recognised standard ISO14001.  The EMS has been designed to reflect the objectives and targets within our Environment Strategy. Applying ISO14001:2015 helped us to measure our environmental risks and sets out how to manage them. 

The benefits of ISO14001:2015 to the ferry have included the prevention of pollution, a commitment to compliance with environmental legislation, and a commitment to continual improvement.

Clean ferry
Our ferry services contribute 3.2% of our direct Co2 emissions.  We have installed rev limiters and implemented eco-driving training to help reduce this. Working with partners, including Newcastle University we have undertaken studies into improving the environmental performance of the Shields Ferry. This has including using different methods of propulsion from diesel, including batteries or hydrogen and looking at mooring solutions to reduce the time the vessels engines are running during the operational day.

In 2023 we will publish a strategy for our ferry which will include recommendations on environmental performance.

Baseline ecological surveys are to be conducted to establish the potential for, and the presence of, habitats and species within the railway environment. Further targeted surveys may be required if initial surveys identify the presence or suspected presence of protected species. These will help to classify the types of habitats we have (UK BAP Priority Habitats) and understand how to better maintain these, improving the quality and quantity of habitats available. Biodiversity indexing will be carried out on a periodic basis to establish the impacts of schemes.

Howdon Depot
Howdon Sub-Depot following construction has been through a re-wilding programme to increase its green footprint. Wildflower seeds were cast throughout the sub-Depot footprint to encourage diverse growth. This is programmed for the broad casting of seeds to be repeated to encourage further growth. An area within the Depot boundaries has been fenced off specifically to encourage and improve on the breeding habits of the rare Dingy Skipper moth which was found to inhabit the site. The project was shortlisted for an environmental award by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).

Waste management
Nexus is committed to reducing, reusing and recycling its waste, and to this end a number of initiatives and policies are in place across Nexus.

During the tender process whenever a new waste management contractor is to be selected, one of the demands we place on prospective bidders is that they must make a commitment that they operate within a Zero Waste to Landfill policy. This is monitored within their reporting process throughout their tenure. We have a target to reduce the amount of waste we generate as a business and actively incentivise our contractor to recycle and reuse. We also donate equipment to local rail charities for reuse.

At the end of 2021-22, Nexus achieved an overall 80.03% recovery/recycling rate with the remainder being consigned as Refuse Derived Fuel ie zero waste to landfill. This year to date recovery/recycling stands at 73.95% as at end of period 9. This reduction is reflected by the two large transfers of inert construction and demolition materials made during projects carried out by Infrastructure Delivery during the Flow Blockade.

Nexus is committed to saving energy both by encouraging and supporting behavioural change and by carrying out physical modifications to our infrastructure, buildings and systems.  We encourage everyone throughout the Nexus to either act to reduce energy usage, or where appropriate. It is increasingly apparent that most people within the Nexus community are concerned about energy usage and would like to minimise this as much as possible.

Energy savings across Nexus include:

  • Installation of LED lighting in stations and the ferry
  • Utilisation of Photovoltaic systems on our bus stops with dimmed lighting when not in use
  • The use of multi-functional-device (MFD) across the whole of Nexus. The MFDs should reduce the consumption of energy for printing as well as other consumable such as ink and paper, permit more double sided printing
  • Saving of £110,000 per year in energy and 630 tonnes of C02 thought the implementation of actions from a subway climatology study
  • The installation of a Building Management System (BMS) and lighting at Nexus Rail Headquarters
  • Continually monitoring energy consumption

Corporate Environmental responsibility
Nexus has an ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility and recognises the importance of undertaking ethical business practices, ensuring the health and safety, well-being and training of our employees, controlling our impact on the environment, and having a positive impact on the society and communities that we work within.  We undertake to achieve this by working with our customers, employees, suppliers, partners, communities and other stakeholders to act on our responsibilities by working within our core business principles:

  • We recognise that our social, economic and environmental responsibilities to our stakeholders are integral to our business. We aim to demonstrate these responsibilities through our actions and within our company policies and strategies
  • We take seriously all feedback that we receive from our stakeholders
  • We shall be open and honest in communicating our strategies, targets, performance and governance to our stakeholders in our continual commitment to sustainable development
  • We are committed to full legal compliance in all that we do
  • We aim to provide a safe, fulfilling and rewarding career for all our employees
  • We actively assess and manage the environmental impacts of all our operations
  • We will further develop our standing as a responsible business in the community
  • We strive to support local, national and international causes where we have a business presence
  • We will benchmark and evaluate what we do in order to monitor our outputs against our targets and objectives
  • We will operate in a way that safeguards against unethical or unfair business practices

Travel Plans
The key aim is to encourage employees and visitors to use more sustainable and environmentally friendly modes of transport rather than travelling by car. The main ways of achieving the aim are: lead by example, promote the use of public transport and 'active travel' in a positive way, improve on-site facilities and security, provide up to date information on travel and services and raise awareness of the travel plan amongst different departments. The benefits to employees and Nexus as an employer include a sense of ownership, improved health and fitness, reduction in air pollution and reduction in carbon associated with employees commuting.

Public Transport - A greener form of travel
If you want to do your bit for the environment, getting public transport and leaving the car at home is one of the most straightforward things to do.

Public transport can be more convenient, quicker, and cheaper to do so. And the green benefits are great too. Car journeys contribute a significant amount of our overall carbon footprint. According to the Energy Saving Trust nearly half of us use a car to drive short journeys, journeys that could otherwise be completed in another, more sustainable way. Using public transport may also have health benefits too.

Currently Metro is a very sustainable way to travel, only walking cycling and electric cars have a lower carbon footprint. The anticipated grams of CO2 per passenger km for the new fleet will even better at 34.5.

CO2 emissions by transport mode:

Modeg CO2 pkm
Car141.7 (based on a medium sized car)
Electric car42.9

*relate to passenger kilometres


© 2023 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.