July 28th, 2017
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan have voiced their support for the total phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles on Irish roads.
These comments follow plans from both the UK and France to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the coming decades.
In the UK, the announcement was made by Michael Gove on Wednesday as part of the government’s clean air plan.
The policy change comes amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.
In France, Emmanuel Macron’s government announced the policy change earlier this month as part of its effort to meet its Paris Agreement targets.
Deputy Noel Rock believes that Ireland “should aim higher and do better” and implement a similar policy change by the earlier date of 2035.
Among the benefits anticipated by Deputy Rock are the creation of “high-value technology jobs” and the enhancement of the Irish green industry.
Fine Gael’s Deputy Noel Rock said that work towards this goal should begin from the next Budget in order to meet an ambitious target date.
The Green Party has also called for “the complete phase out of combustion engines as soon as possible”.
Echoing the bold statements of Fine Gael’s Deputy Rock, Eamon Ryan has called on the Irish Government to adopt a more ambitious target than the UK.
“This will require a serious upgrade in our charging infrastructure, which we’re calling on the Government to deliver,” he said.
He said that the UK’s decision is a “unique opportunity for Ireland” as this will lead to abundant supplies of right-hand drive electric vehicles.
Mr Ryan also cited leading economists in California that believe we are on the cusp of the “fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history”.
He added that “going electric will suit Ireland” as it will translate into cleaner air, lower fuel imports, realistic chances of meeting emissions targets and combatting climate change.
A fleet of electric cars could potentially balance Ireland’s growing variable wind power supply by acting as “a massive battery storage system which will be a central part of a new renewable economy”, he added.