Thursday, 17 June 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
As transport accounts for a little over 20% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions there can be no doubt that the sector has a vital role to play in our national decarbonisation efforts. Private vehicles are the biggest emitting segment; as such, providing meaningful alternatives to everyday car journeys, especially in our cities, is fundamental to achieving our climate objectives.
As the Deputy is aware, the Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2021is currently being developed; as part of this process my Department has carried out analytical and modelling work to identify the various measures required to achieve a 51% reduction in transport emissions by 2030. CAP 2021will be published later this summer and will contain several key actions to decarbonise the transport sector, including those related to modal shift and managing demand for private car use. Regarding modal shift targets, the CAP 2019aimed for an additional 500,000 sustainable journeys in the transport system by 2035, I expect that under CAP 2021this ambition level will be raised further.
For this reason, continued and enhanced investment in sustainable mobility options is needed. The implementation of major public transport projects such as BusConnects, Connecting Ireland, the expansion of rail services and infrastructure, as well as a significant increase in our cycling and walking spending will be pivotal in fostering more sustainable trips. Achieving modal shift will be supported through the new 10-year Sustainable Mobility Policywhich will be published later this year. The new Policywill include actions in the areas of behaviour change, demand management, and transport-led development, including multi-modal transport hubs to deliver modal shift and greater use of sustainable modes of transport.
In tandem, to promoting more sustainable travel modes we need to lessen car kilometres driven if we are to achieve the required 51% reduction in transport emissions. This is not about cancelling trips, but rather it is about reducing the need for and length of certain trips. Planning policy will continue to work to address low density/suburban sprawl, which increases the distance people must travel and ultimately can lock in car-dependent patterns of behaviour. Reducing car journeys offers many co-benefits in terms of citizen health, reducing congestion, and facilitating more accessible and vibrant communities.
In this regard, I am fully committed to exploring every means possible to shift towards low-carbon, affordable, and accessible mobility.