Let the train take the emissions strain
The Guardian: February 2, 2006
Letter from Bob Crow
The Guardian report (Carbon emission targets delayed, January 31) highlights that carbon emissions from transport are likely to have risen by 16% in the two decades to 2010.
Even excluding aviation, transport accounts for nearly a quarter of total UK emissions. It is clear that rail is less polluting than cars, lorries or air travel. Passenger for passenger, the government accepts that a journey by car between London and Edinburgh will produce six times the CO2 emissions generated by rail, while the same journey by air is eight times more polluting than by train.
The government's stated aims are to increase rail use and protect the environment, so it is baffling that the Department for Transport has published draft procedures for closures and "modification" of the rail network that many fear will make it easier to close railway stations and lines and to replace trains with buses.
At the same time the deputy prime minister's sustainable communities plan envisages 200,000 new homes in the south-east where roads are already heavily congested, yet there are no plans to expand capacity on existing inadequate or overcrowded rail services. We now need more evidence of joined-up thinking if transport is to play its role in reducing carbon emissions.
General secretary, RMT