Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
47. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the approach which the Government plans to take in respect of congestion charging; and if it will be conditional on alternative transport services being readily available. [62247/21]
The Climate Action Plan makes clear that we need to reduce fossil fuelled passenger vehicle kilometres by up to 10% to fully achieve a 51% emissions reduction for the transport sector by 2030. While all options are on the table as we strive to achieve carbon neutrality, we must ensure that if policies like this are pursued that they are evidence based and that viable alternatives exist for people to continue to make their journeys.
My Department has recently published the Five Cities Demand Management Study, pursuant to Action 81 of the Climate Action Plan2019. The purpose of the Study is to identify transport demand drivers in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Galway, and to assess the impact and suitability of an array of different demand management measures for each city. The Study focused on addressing four main challenges facing our cities: decarbonisation, air quality, congestion, and, improving the overall urban environment. The Study is evidence-based using insight from an extensive international best practice review, national and local stakeholder engagement and supported by detailed qualitative (Phase 1) and quantitative (Phase 2) appraisal - available to view at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/c6571-five-cities-demand-management-study/
While the Study has identified that the introduction congestion charges can prove effective, the Study also found that there are a variety of alternative measures that can be pursued with greater effect. The three priority measures that have been recommended for implementation across the five cities are:
- Develop and embed the concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods through national and local plans and strategies, providing resources to incentivise their implementation through national funding/grants schemes.
- Enhance delivery of the National Planning Framework.
- Public Parking Controls.
Importantly, the Study has also made clear that there is no single solution to tackling the challenges facing our urban environments. Utilising an integrated Travel Demand Management approach to policy development, planning and delivery of our land use and transport systems will be fundamental to addressing these challenges in the coming years.
In line with our Climate Action Plan commitments, my Department, NTA and the Regional Assemblies are engaging to identify a pathway for the implementation of suitable demand management measures at national and local level, and to advancing these measures by 2025.