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Ban free workplace parking, says Climate Change Advisory Council

Marie Donnelly, the chairperson of the state’s Climate Change Advisory Council, has urged the Irish government to impose a levy on employees receiving free parking in urban areas.

Created by the government in 2016, the Council’s job is to inform the government on climate-related issues. Its current head, Marie Donnelly, was appointed to the role in 2021 by Climate and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Transport Committee this week, Donnelly highlighted section 18(b) of the 2008 Finance Bill, which calculates free parking as an added benefit, and stressed that the legislation to ban free workplace parking already exists and requires only a signature for implementation.

“There needs to be some pro rata for the privilege of having free parking,” she said.

“Free parking is worth on average €20 per day and that’s worth around €5,000 per year. We’re not saying ‘take the car away from people’, but if they are getting €5,000 a year of parking, it’s not an outrageous suggestion to say they should pay a levy and that funding should be used to further invest in alternative options that are available.”

She added: “It’s already on the books here in Ireland – it was just never implemented.”

Donnelly also insisted that Ireland has not yet identified adequate measures to achieve the “ambitious” target of reducing transport emissions by 50% from 2018 levels by 2030.

The call follows the introduction of the National Demand Management Strategy by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan last week. This strategy proposes various measures to decrease the number of cars on the road, such as the establishment of “car-free zones,” redirecting road space away from private vehicles and towards public transport, and more.

Apart from these strategies, Ryan’s department is considering reducing the number of parking spaces and increasing their cost, and implementing tax measures that discourage the use of cars and promote the use of public transportation.

The National Transport Authority has published models of how Ireland’s transport climate targets could be met, including massively increasing parking charges, substantially reducing speed limits on certain roads, and more.



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