C: Edwar Gomez / Scopio

New: Oireachtas Climate Report – Use your car less or face penalties

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has published its Report on Reducing emissions in the transport sector by 51% by 2030. The Report contains almost 50 recommendations.  

Among them is a call on Government to examine the possibility of introducing a new ‘charges’ regime for road users that would include setting ‘potential targets for car mileage reductions.’

If translated into law this particular recommendation will generate a punitive effect for car owners by targeting them with financial penalties if they exceed designated car mileage levels.

The Committee also calls for investigations into the removal of all tax relief measures on diesel for Irish Freight companies.

Also among the recommendations is a controversial call on the Government to investigate the “substantial scope for sharing of transport fleet (cars, e-scooters, e-bikes etc.) to reduce transport emissions.

The Committee say this will reduce the need for car ownership and the need for car parking space which both reduce emissions.

This is similar to a proposal flagged by Green Party leader Eamon Ryan in October 2019, when he suggested that a village of 300 people could operate on 30 cars if a car-pooling scheme was devised.

Mr Ryan later said he regretted making the remarks and offered the following clarification:

“Maybe I should shut up and never say anything, but I still do believe that the people in rural Ireland and urban Ireland might benefit from these new solutions.”

Other recommendations from the Oireachtas Committee include reducing the amount of future road construction projects throughout the State and a request for Government to commit to allocating 10% of the entire transport capital funding for cycling infrastructure, and an additional 10% of the transport capital funding for pedestrian infrastructure.

The Capital Allocation for the Department of Transport for 2021 is €2.5 billion.

If the Capital Allocation remains the same for 2022 this would mean that €250 million would have to be committed to cycling with an additional €250 million allocated to pedestrian infrastructure.

To encourage emission reductions through use of Electric Vehicles, the Committee recommends that a public awareness campaign highlighting the urgency of climate action and the individual and collective behavioural changes is required -including the necessity to reduce car usage and/or move car ownership to EVs, which may include e-bikes.

The Committee recommends consideration be given to introducing mandates for zero emission trucks (as seen in California).

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