Climate Plan: Transport policy a “disgrace”, committee told

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June 19th, 2019

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan today described the transport section of the Government’s new climate plan as “a disgrace” for a lack of emphasis on public transport over private car use.

Speaking this morning at the joint committee on transport, Mr Ryan said that the transport section should be scrapped completely and reoriented with spending focused on public transport.

He said that plan should have instead taken up the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly that State investment prioritises public transport over roads in a 2 to 1 ratio.

The new plans outlines policy aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector by 45 to 50 per cent by 2030, including ambitious plans to increase the number of electric vehicles to 936,000 including 1,200 electric buses.

Mr Ryan said that the target of one million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030 was unrealistic and that a target of 200-300,000 would be more useful.

Other aims in the plan include building nationwide electric vehicle charging points with at least one charging point in new public buildings with more than 10 parking spaces, and raising the blend proportion of biofuels in road transport to 10 per cent in petrol and 12 per cent in diesel.

The Social Democrats Catherine Murphy TD called for the plan “to be interrogated” by bodies other than those with political ties.

She said there is “very good reason” to be critical of the plan and maintained that until the Government put funding into public transport, the “vision” for a shift in lowering emissions will remain just that. “Putting our money where our mouth is means putting money into public transport,” she said.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith described the lack of any plans for implementing free public transport as “a missed opportunity”.

“The Government’s plan in the area of transport it a shocking failure of our responsibilities to the climate and will do little to increase people’s use of public transport,” She said. It is a “criminal derogation of our duty to the environment,” she added.

The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) were also present at today’s hearing and Eamon Ryan asked its representative Dr Larry O’Connell to “call out the downfalls” in the report.

Dr O’Connell said that NESC would like to review the Climate Action Plan and present the findings to the Transport Committee in the future.

By Marianne Foody

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