AT THE recent election thousands of people across the region put their faith in the Scottish Green Party.

I’m incredibly grateful to have been re-elected to Holyrood with an increased share of the vote and I’ll work hard to repay the trust placed in me.

I’d like to offer particular thanks to the many people who voted Scottish Green for the first time, who helped us deliver a record result nationally.

That success reflects the results we’ve delivered over the last five years in parliament, but also our promise to work towards a fair recovery from the pandemic and deliver meaningful action on the climate emergency.

Throughout the campaign we presented a positive vision of Scotland’s future, one focussed on fairness, recovery and building a better future for all of us

I’m delighted to have been appointed the Scottish Greens spokesperson for environment, climate and transport.

Shortly before the election, we launched our Rail for All report which outlined ambitious plans to reinvigorate our public transport network while making trains reliable and affordable.

A key part of our plans involves reopening the Alloa to Dunfermline rail link, something which I made the case for throughout the last parliamentary term.

In the face of a climate emergency we need to give people every possible support in moving away from private cars and into public transport.

At present a train journey between Alloa and Dunfermline would take more than two hours, despite the fact they are just 14 miles apart. That’s clearly unacceptable and what’s so frustrating is that there is a track already laid, lying there unused and wasted.

Reopening the line also gives us the chance to build new stations in places like Kincardine and Clackmannan, bringing the Wee County and Fife closer together while creating new economic opportunities throughout the region.

It would allow easier onward journeys to places like Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow giving people options for work, leisure, or education.

That final point feels particularly important. The pandemic has been deeply challenging for all of us but I think most would agree that young people have carried particular burdens.

Schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country were severely disrupted, opportunities for play which is so important to a child’s development were severely curtailed and many of the industries most severely affected were disproportionately staffed by young people at the beginning of their careers.

On top of that, without the kind of meaningful action the Scottish Greens propose, the climate emergency means an uncertain future.

Understandably, young people are anxious. That’s why a fair recovery must include dealing with the climate crisis and ensuring ample opportunities for every young person to flourish.

So, while it’s a local project, reopening the line from Alloa to Dunfermline would send a strong signal about the kind of country we want to build in the wake of the pandemic.

One that values its communities, one which is sustainable and clean, and one in which every young person has a bright future.