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Government policy aims to reduce daily use of petrol / diesel cars

The Department of Transport has launched its new ‘Sustainable Mobility Policy’, which sets out a national framework for active travel and public transport to 2030.

This new policy, which seems to be urban focused aims to entice people to switch from the daily use of a petrol or diesel car to walking, cycling or using public transport. The policy also aims to support the goal to half Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

It claims that to achieve Ireland’s targeted 51 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, the plan will deliver at least 500,000 additional daily active travel and public transport journeys by 2030 and a 10 per cent reduction in the number of kilometres driven by fossil fuelled cars.

According to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, this new policy “is all about getting people moving in a greener way, by choosing walking, cycling or public transport over fossil-fuelled vehicles, and helping people choose more sustainable options”.

Other areas highlighted in the policy include: Moving the public transport fleet to low and zero emission vehicles; commencing delivery of BusConnects in cities and connecting rural areas; reallocating road space to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport; improving rail infrastructure and services, with more attractive fares.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton added that this plan will improve connections between rural, urban and suburban communities in Ireland, along with reducing traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, the Government still remains hopeful of having nearly 1 million electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030. This is broken down as 845,000 passenger electric vehicles, 95,000 zero-emission vans, 3,500 zero-emission HGVs, and 1,500 fully electric buses, bringing the total number of EVs on the road to 945,000.

Since this target was first mooted by the Government, we have repeatedly regarded it as totally unreasonable and unachievable. In the first quarter of this year 6,244 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 2,816 on the same period 2021. And according to the SEAI, at the end of 2021, there were 45,000 electric vehicles (and that includes plug-in hybrids), in Ireland.

So there is no way that we will see an average of 100,000 electric cars sold each year between now and January 2030. It makes for a good political soundbite though. You could be forgiven for wondering if that’s all that really matters?