Citizens Assembly supports cycling as a climate action solution
In its recommendations on How the State Can Make Ireland a Leader in Tackling Climate Change the Citizens Assembly strongly endorsed a much higher government priority for active travel and public transport. With a majority of 93% of the citizens supporting a recommendation saying - The number of bus lanes, cycling lanes and park and ride facilities should be greatly increased in the next five years, and much greater priority should be given to these modes over private car use.
Increased investment in public transport also received a strong vote as did better supports for transition to electric vehicles (EVs) -
The State should prioritise the expansion of public transport spending over new road infrastructure spending at a ratio of no less than 2-to-1 to facilitate the broader availability and uptake of public transport options with particular attention to rural areas.
The State should immediately take the following steps to support the transition to electric vehicles:
- Develop an expanded national network of charging points;
- Introduce a range of additional incentives, particularly aimed at rural communities, to encourage motorists towards electric vehicle ownership in the short term. Such measures should include, but not be limited to, targeted help-to-buy schemes, reductions in motor tax for electric vehicles and lower or free motorway tolls.
- Measures should then be introduced to progressively disincentivise the purchase of new carbon intensive vehicles such as year-on-year increases in taxes on petrol and diesel, motor tax and purchase taxes for petrol and diesel vehicles.
Kevin O’Farrell, who attended the Citizens Assembly weekend as on observer for Cyclist.ie commented on this positive outcome -
The Citizens Assembly in their recommendations to the Oireachtas have understood to reduce private car dependency impacts on GHG emissions requires prioritising investment and incentives for walking, cycling and sustainable public transport. Giving people more mobility choices will greatly assist the needed behavioural change with the added benefits far outweighing the costs.
During the weekend of 4-5 November the citizens heard presentations on transport from Anne Graham CEO of National Transport Authority, Dr Brian Caulfield of Trinity College Dublin and Danish politician Connie Hedegaard former European Commissioner for Climate Action. The sessions presentations and slides are available here as are watch back videos.
A signpost document used to guide citizens outlined the key issues and themes which featured in the submissions from the public consultation part of this process leading upto the two weekend meetings of the Citizens Assembly. All the detailed results of the Citizens Assembly on climate change are here.
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