Government urged to re-examine current and future road-building projects

Committee calls for free public transport to be examined as a way of promoting less carbon-intensive travel

The report says road-use strategies should be used to promote cycling and public transport, and dissuade the use of cars. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The report says road-use strategies should be used to promote cycling and public transport, and dissuade the use of cars. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

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The Oireachtas Climate Action Committee will today urge the Government to re-examine current and future road-building projects to assess if they should proceed or if their funding should be diverted to projects which promote less carbon-intensive transport.

The committee will also advise the Government to examine road charges, including targets for car-mileage reductions, as well as other ways of reducing transport by car.

Its report, to be published today, is significant because while the Government has committed to deep cuts in carbon emissions it has yet to identify the measures that will achieve the reductions.

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As well as reviewing road projects the committee will say the Government should examine making the public transport system free for users.

The report will also say that relying on a mass changeover from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 in order to achieve carbon-reduction targets is risky as the target of getting a million EVs on the road by 2030 will be hard to meet.

“The committee questioned the feasibility of achieving the target of nearly a million EVs by 2030...In 2020 only 7.4 per cent of new passenger sales were EVs compared with 74.8 per cent in Norway and 18.1 per cent in Finland, ” the draft report says.

It says the Government should use the vehicle registration tax system to promote the purchase of new electric cars.

It also urges that efforts to electrify rail transport be speeded up, and that the Government consider “cycling super-highways” into cities. It says road-use strategies should be used to promote cycling and public transport, and dissuade the use of cars.