Transport accounts for 20% of Ireland’s overall emissions (and 27% of our non-ETS emissions), with 52% of overall transport emissions coming from private cars, 24% from freight, and 4% from public transport.
Project Ireland 2040: Investing in the Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Society
- Decarbonising Ireland’s transport sector needs to become an urgent priority for Government, and agencies such as the NTA. Transport is the only sector to have increased its share of emissions since 1990. In fact, emissions have doubled since 1990 to one fifth of Ireland’s total. Actual total transport emissions rose 4% in 2015 and are continuing to rise quickly.
- The Environmental Protection Agency expects a 13% increase in national GHG emissions from transport between 2016 and 2035.
- As noted by Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council , progress in tackling transport emissions has been very limited.
- Most especially for transport, Ireland’s ratification of the Paris Agreement equates to a limited fossil fuel budget, including oil and gas. That means an overriding imperative to reduce the petrol and diesel use every year no matter what.
- It is notable that the Department’s priorities fail to mention climate change or emission reductions. The only reference in the Department’s annual report is a mention of the National Mitigation Plan, which suggests that insufficient regard has been taken to the urgency of what is required in this sector. The Minister should fully support a roadmap for the decarbonisation of the transport sector, specifying annual emissions reductions and how these will be achieved.
- How is the Department contributing to the targets set by the National Policy Position ? By 2050 the long term vision was to see an aggregate reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) across the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors.
- Failure of the Government to reach targets set for Smarter Travel and cycling policies to achieve emissions savings. Why are they not being implemented
In 2017, Deputy Catherine Murphy addressed a question in the Dail about the management of the cycle training programme Cycle Right, specifically the anticipated increase in cycling to school and the benchmark for success. This was against a background in the UK of increased training having no significant effect on cycling levels unless accompanied by the provision of high quality infrastructure.
The response by Minister Shane Ross was in short that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport had no idea about how effective the scheme would be and did not have any benchmark for success.
In 2018, one year on from having introduced the scheme, Deputy Catherine Murphy again asked about the effectiveness of Cycle Right. ( See full transcript of question and answer) In a rambling response, the Minister Shane Ross confirmed that there was no data available on the number of children cycling to school directly as a result of Cycle Right training.
He did state that in 2017, 15,245 pupils participated in Cycle Right training in 428 schools. which means that 4% of primary schools pupils (if only primary schools took part) 1 or 2.7% of all pupils received cycle training. He went on to state that
“This cycle training ……. will result, over time, in an increase in the number of responsible cyclists on our roads. As Cycle Right is essentially a training programme, we will continue to monitor it based on the number of participants ……
There is no evidence that cycle training on its own will lead to increased cycling. In stating the increase in terms of additional responsible cycling, it could be interpreted that there would be no additional cyclists – only more ‘responsible’ ones. The statement that they will continue to monitor Cycle Right based on the number of participants is “flannel”. Of course the Department is going to continue to monitor the scheme as it is funded on the basis of a payment per head.
The response to the parliamentary question then rambles on to discuss the Green Schools programme although Green Schools were not referred to in the question. The Green School programme monitors the number of children travelling by active means but only those schools which are participating in the Travel Module. Any school which is not participating in the Travel Module or in the Green Schools programme is not monitored. The survey results report an increase from 3% to 4% over two years. This is more selective hype and spin by the Minister and his Department as they aggregate the results over more than one year in order to boost the results.
So now we know that only a small percentage of pupils receive cycle training and nobody has any idea about its effectiveness. This lack of interest in its outcome begs the question what is this Minister and / or senior management doing?
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. today confirmed an additional €400,000 of funding is being made available to Dublin City Council for investment in cycling safety infrastructure.
Speaking at today’s announcement Minister Ross commented –
“I want to encourage more people to cycle and I realise that safety is a concern to many, so I am continuing to invest in safety measures for cyclists. This €400,000 will improve safety for cyclists at 40 key junctions across Dublin City Centre and is a great example of my Department and the National Transport Authority working with local authorities to improve cycling and walking infrastructure generally.”
This investment will be used to fund Dublin City Council’s installation of smart cyclist detection equipment at 40 key junctions around Dublin. This new traffic management feature aims to make busy junctions safer for cyclists by using smart technology to regulate traffic more effectively. In particular these measures will help alleviate concerns of cyclists regarding collisions and crossing times at busy junctions.
Minister Ross stated: “This funding is in addition to the €110million I have already secured for the development of cycling and walking infrastructure across the country over the next 4 years. Furthermore, significant investment is planned under the BusConnects programme in Dublin, which will deliver around 200km of, where possible, segregated cycle paths.”
The Department is also a key sponsor of Velo-City 2019 and is working closely with Dublin City Council (DCC), who will host the event. The Minister said “I am delighted to support this prestigious event and look forward to welcoming the conference, delegates and sponsors back to Dublin in June of next year.”
The Minister also wished the NTA’s Smarter Travel Team success for their ‘Reboot your Commute’ campaign that is launching tomorrow and thanked the National Transport Authority and DCC for their continued commitment to improving infrastructure.