Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The Programme for Government 2020 contains a commitment to an average of a 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions year-on-year from 2021 to 2030 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The transport sector currently accounts for 20% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions levels and a reduction in emissions levels in the sector, through a combination of taxation and incentivisation, will form a key part of achieving that target. Private car usage represents 50% of those emissions. In this regard, the CO2 based motor tax system for private cars, which comprise the bulk of the vehicle fleet, is structured in such a way as to incentivise the uptake of electric and lower CO2-emitting vehicles, with these attracting lower motor tax rates than higher emitting vehicles.
There were changes to the motor tax system in Budget 2021 to provide for the transition to a new vehicle emissions test procedure, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) for vehicles registered in the State on or after 1 January 2021. Cars in the existing CO2 fleet continue to be taxed on the same banding structure that has been in effect since 1 January 2013, while there were some modest increases to rates in the higher emitting Bands C to G, the first increases in motor tax since that date.
As set out in the recently published National Development Plan, the Government is committed to strengthening rural economies and communities and enhancing regional accessibility, with a range of investments proposed in new and existing public transport infrastructure. The Plan commits to significant investment in the land transport network and the upcoming National Investment Framework for Transport in Ireland will set out the priorities for investment in the land transport network.
The Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, Our Rural Future, also contains over 150 commitments to the improvement of the quality of life in rural Ireland, to be delivered by central Government Departments, State agencies and local authorities. These include commitments to providing improved rural transport services, piloting new transport initiatives to enhance the quality of life for people in rural areas, and ensuring that public transport services in rural and regional areas are accessible to those with disabilities or reduced mobility. The Policy aims to develop expanded Local Link Services and to further integrate Local Link Services with other existing public transport services through the rollout of the National Transport Authority’s Connecting Ireland Plan. There is also a commitment to develop a grant-aided Community Transport Service Scheme through Local Link, as well as to running a pilot to examine the potential for hail-riding services to improve rural connectivity and to develop a subsidised Local Area Hackney Scheme in designated areas that are too small to support a full-time taxi or hackney service. The Policy also commits to investing in high quality walking and cycling infrastructure specifically targeted at towns and villages across the country, investing in the local and regional road network to maintain roads to a proper standard and to increase regional connectivity and to increasing investment in the repair of non-public roads through the Local Improvement Scheme.