Climate Action Plan Annexe Must Now Be Delivered
Time for a Bike to School scheme
Where are previously agreed public transport projects in the Plan?
E-scooters must be regulated without delay
Welcoming the publication of the Government’s Annexe of actions to the Climate Action Plan, Labour Climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD said it is imperative that this pathway is implemented urgently, so as to achieve our climate targets.
Deputy Bacik said:
“We welcome the publication of the annexe to the Climate Action Plan. I have been calling for this publication for some time and am encouraged that it has finally been released. The publication of deadlines and timelines will be a valuable tool for us to measure our progress on climate action.
“However, even on a preliminary review of the annexe, there are a number of areas that are cause for concern. It seems that E-scooters, for example, will not be legislated for until Q4 2022, which is far too late. Notwithstanding legitimate concerns about their safety, the reality is that many people are already using them. The government must act more quickly on this.
“There is welcome mention of DART+ West and the development of cycling infrastructure but nothing on the Luas and tram projects for Lucan and Finglas, which will be a disappointment to people there. Ensuring access to reliable and accessible public transport for our commuters will be crucial in changing behaviour. Transport accounts for one fifth of our overall emissions. A report published by the EPA last October showed a decrease in transport emissions of 15.7% during the lockdowns – clearly, better sustainable transport infrastructure is needed, and more of it.
“I will engage in Q4 of 2022 with the Department of Education review of the School Transport Scheme. It’s time for a Bike to School scheme for children, something I first called for in 2015. The idea for this scheme is that it would expand the very successful employee/employer Cycle to Work scheme, introduced in 2009, to enable employers to provide employees with tax-exempt bicycle/bicycle safety equipment for their school-age children.
“There are dual climate and health benefits for such a scheme. At a time when there is increasing concern about levels of childhood obesity in Ireland, the introduction of a positive measure like this, aimed at increasing the numbers of children cycling to school, could do a great deal to improve children’s health generally.
“We also welcome the move by government to consider making green hydrogen more cost effective and look forward to the review of this measure starting in Q4 of 2022. We see from Wind Energy Ireland an analysis that carbon pricing, storage and green hydrogen can reduce and eliminate the need for fossil fuels in electricity. We need to see the Government intervention that will actually give effect to those hopeful projections and optimistic modelling.
“Everything we do needs to be considered through the lens of the climate emergency. We need to be both ambitious and practical. Government needs to catch the low hanging fruit in areas like active travel and public transport, while ensuring the availability of new technologies to green our future.”