Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
170. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he can clarify whether the Government has abandoned targets for 1 million private EV on the roads by 2030; the way targets for cuts to emissions in transport will be reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62727/22]
171. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the Government has formally abandoned targets for 1 million private electric vehicles on the roads by 2030; if so, the way he plans to reach the targets for cuts to emissions in transport; if he will re-examine proposals for free public transport in view of such a change in Government transport climate policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62711/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 171 together.
The targets that have been set out in the updated Transport Chapter of Climate Action Plan 2023(CAP23) are informed by detailed transport modelling undertaken by the National Transport Authority. This work identifies a sectoral decarbonisation pathway that can achieve a 50% reduction in transport emissions by 2030.
It is clear that in order to meet our 50% emissions abatement target and to comply with our sector emissions ceilings, we cannot afford a reduction in the ambition of any element of the proposed pathway. As such, we project that approximately 1 in 3 private cars (30%) will need to be a battery electric vehicle by 2030, which equates to the previous Government target of c.845,000 private EVs on our roads by 2030 in absolute terms. EV targets have also been set for the commercial sector and public transport vehicles of 95,000 LGVs, 3,500 HDVs and 1,500 buses.
In this context, while the previous CAP21 private EV target is re-framed as an expected 30%-share of the total car fleet by 2030, it is not a reduction in the level of our ambition, but rather is intended to better embed it within our wider sustainable mobility policy, where our EV strategy may also benefit from supporting actions taken to reduce our high-levels of car dependency.
It is important to note that compliance with our sectoral emissions ceiling targets will only result from an integrated combination of measures, and the decarbonisation pathway set out in CAP23 is premised on an 'AVOID-SHIFT-IMPROVE' framework to achieving greater transport sustainability. In addition to enhanced spatial and land-use planning measures that can reduce the need to travel by private car in the first instance, the proposed decarbonisation pathway would see a significant roll-out of additional sustainable alternatives and capacity enhancements to public transport services.
In relation to public transport fares, a reduction in public transport fares of 50% was assessed as a modelling mechanism to simulate the required behavioural change, but it is important to note that the modelled pathway is provided to inform detailed policy design and does not reflect committed Government policy.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. The gross cost for the provision of PSO public transport services in 2022 was c.€1.104bn, but this excludes both the Rural Transport Demand Responsive services (which had an estimated cost of €18m) and also the very significant increased cost of providing additional services that would in turn be required to meet the increased demand generated by free fares.
CAP23 further acknowledges that additional public transport services investment will be required to meet the modelled pathway assumptions and my Department will develop further analysis to consider the high-level multi-annual programme cost of the additional services required to meet the modelled pathway targets, as part of its 2023 work programme.
Government remains strongly committed to providing all citizens with reliable and realistic sustainable mobility options, and Budget 2023 included the continuation of measures to reduce the cost of public transport, including the extension of the 20% fare reduction on PSO services so that everyone will benefit until the end of 2023. The 50% reduction available for young adults on both PSO and commercial bus services was also extended until the end of 2023, which will be supported by new and enhanced bus and rail services throughout 2023. These are all part of a €563 million funding package to support PSO services and that package is hugely significant in the context of providing accessible and affordable transport options.