[2021] Motion 13 Rail, climate and a post-pandemic recovery

Composited motion

Received from:

Congress notes that while the coronavirus has rightly been the focus for governments around the world over the last two years, the climate change crisis has not disappeared.

Public transport use collapsed during the pandemic, with the majority of leisure and commuter travel disappearing as lockdowns took place and people were told to stay at home. While it looks like people who were able to work remotely are beginning to head back to workplaces, it remains to be seen whether the pandemic has had a long-term effect on how we work.

Congress acknowledges that the financial cost of this pandemic cannot be met with more failed austerity measures, but by growing our economy. We must grow our economy in a way that not only doesn’t exacerbate the climate crisis, but indeed reduces carbon emissions.

Rail is an essential part of a green economy, including rail freight which results in an average of 76 per cent lower emissions than the equivalent road journey. But we know that once rail infrastructure is allowed to diminish, and our capacity reduces, it is far harder to get it back. That is why we must work to ensure the temporary reduction in passenger numbers does not lead to long-term decline of our network.

Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for more rail investment, not cuts; to centre investment in low-carbon transport to ensure a future green economy; and to campaign for the safe return of passengers to public transport.