Carbon emissions and local councils


Sir, – While it is heartening to read that local authorities are working to tackle climate change, there was very little mention in the article of the single largest source of emissions that councils have the ability to influence directly, namely transport (“Local authorities identify key ways to help reduce carbon emissions”, News, January 14th). Anyone who travels around our cities will be aware that they are plagued by motor traffic with (at best) patchy public transport and cycling infrastructure. In Galway, for example, the main transport infrastructure that is being pushed is a second bypass that will raise CO2 emissions by 37 per cent. The €650 million that this road will cost could be transformative for the city if used in ways designed to encourage people out of cars. Seville, for example, built more than 100km of bike lanes for less than 5 per cent of this figure, for example. The one cause for optimism is that community-driven schemes like the Galway Cycle Bus and School Streets initiatives are gaining a lot of good publicity as people are realising that if they want alternatives they’re going to have to provide them. I hope that councils and central government will catch up and realise that being seen to “bring home the bacon” with big road projects is not the way to plan transport in the 21st century. – Yours, etc,


Salthill, Galway.