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Scale and pace of transport plans at odds with climate obligations – Darren O’Rourke TD

17 November, 2021 - by Darren O Rourke TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said the government’s current public and active transport plans do not reflect the radical change required to meet the 51% emissions reduction targets by 2030.

The Meath East TD said:

“I’m struggling to see how the government’s current transport plans will deliver the transformational change needed to reduce the sector’s emissions by 42% - 50% as per the Climate Action Plan.

“Put bluntly, the scale, ambition and pace of change simply isn’t there to achieve this goal.

“The Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy, published last week, aims to have just 11.5% of journeys by bike by 2042.

“Compare this with Copenhagen, where today 49% of journeys are made by bicycle.

“School bus transport is significantly oversubscribed each year, but the current target outlined in Bus Éireann’s Sustainability Strategy, would only see a 20% increase in places by 2030 - equivalent to just 1,000 extra places each year.

“This is hugely under ambitious and fails to recognise how many daily car journeys can be removed by radically expanding this scheme.

“Another example is the Safe Routes to School Programme. This programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities to increase active travel.

“It’s hugely oversubscribed, with 931 schools expressing interest, but just 170 schools awarded funding this year.

“Schools are crying out for investment and support to increase active travel, but the government are failing to meet the demand.

“Similarly, public transport fares are a huge barrier for many people, and we aren’t seeing the ambition needed to reduce costs for people to encourage them to take the bus, train or tram.

“Likewise, funding for the NTA’s Connecting Ireland plan is backloaded, with just 10% of funding allocated in Year 1 and no guarantee of future funding. 

“These are just some examples of low hanging fruit that can be immediately tackled to kick start a significant reduction in our emissions.

“There’s a clear contradiction between the climate rhetoric and action on the ground when it comes to tackling transport emissions.

“In my opinion the current scale, ambition and pace of change won’t deliver the transformational change we need to meet our climate targets.”

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