Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Transport Policy

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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176. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on whether it is fair to target motorists at a time when the cost-of-living is soaring (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12173/23]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The latest Climate Action Plan (published in December) and the associated Annex of Actions (published yesterday) include a commitment to develop a new National Demand Management Strategy for the transport sector over the course of this year with the aim of reducing congestion and complementing an extensive range of supports being provided by Government to help halve our transport emissions by 2030.

Such supports including incentives and investment to facilitate a large-scale transition to electric vehicles, increased penetration of biofuels in the fuel-mix, and unprecedented levels of funding in active and public transport infrastructure and services. While these supports are critical, they are not enough to help us achieve our emissions targets or to help us address gridlock, and air quality issues in our towns and cities.

To this end, the new Strategy will be a high-level strategy with the aim of reducing congestion and improving the air quality, safety and liveability of our urban spaces. It will support a just transition by encouraging the alignment of demand management measures with other planned measures, such as public transport service enhancements in urban and rural areas, new active travel infrastructure, the Safe Routes to Schools Programme and supports for shared mobility facilities and services. It will take account of people with additional mobility needs, ensuring the same or better access to towns and services, and it will ensure our road networks can appropriately and efficiently support the movement of goods and people, particularly public transport services, and ongoing national and regional economic development.

While CAP23 outlines the range of measures that may be considered in the development of this new strategy, such as road space reallocation, car-free zones and user charging, nothing has been decided to date. Government fully recognises that demand management measures are most effective and equitable when alternative, more sustainable, public transport and active travel options are readily available.

As part of the process to develop the strategy, my department will work closely with key departments, agencies, and local authorities and will consider the potential impacts and opportunities of various demand management measures across the whole of society, including rural communities. My department also intends launching an initial phase of public consultation in the coming months alongside targeted engagement with key stakeholders throughout the course of 2023.

Details of transport-related charges referenced in some media coverage recently relate to modelling assumptions used to inform the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP23) which were published on the NTA website recently. The modelling inputs do no represent agreed policy measures and this is made clear in the Climate Action Plan itself.


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