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Ireland’s transport sector has lagged behind significantly over the last decade as the country has sought to successfully implement an energy transition strategy. Will anything change fundamentally over the next decade?

The following measures set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan are the most significant for the future of our transport sector.

1. Modal shift

  • The implementation of major sustainable-mobility projects such as DART Expansion, Metro Link, and the BusConnects Programme

  • Expansion of sustainable-travel measures, including a comprehensive cycling and walking network for metropolitan areas of Ireland’s cities, with a particular emphasis on the safety of cyclists

  • Establishment of a Park-and-Ride Development Office which shall publish a 5-year strategy to consider the development of an overall Park-and-Ride Implementation Plan, a timeline to seek initial planning consents, a timeline to commence constructions of car park extensions at rail stations and a consideration of the implementation of localised travel planning

  • Establish a Cycling Project Office within the NTA, which will publish a 5-year strategy considering the overall cycling Implementation Plan across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford, a timeline to seek initial planning permission consents and a timeline to commence construction of initial trance of cycle projects

  • Consideration of further opportunities to expand and better integrate existing mobility management initiatives for institutions and enterprises, such as Smarter Travel Workplaces, Smarter Travel Campus, Green School Travel and Workplace Travel Plans, including the potential for increased participation by Local Authority-led structures

  • Establish a new fare structure on BusConnects which will encourage flexible use of an integrated public transport network

2. Conversion of public fleets

  • Commitment to transition to low emission vehicles or LEVs, including electric buses, for the urban public bus fleet, with no diesel-only purchases from 1 July 2019

  • Develop a Green Public Procurement Framework for conversion to electric vehicles (EVs) in 2020

  • Pass legislation to enable Local Authorities to introduce low- and zero-emission driving zones

3. Incentives and regulation

  • No new non-zero emissions vehicles will be sold in Ireland post-2030 and no NCT Certificate will be issued for non-zero emissions cars post-2045. This will be backed up by seeking to get agreement in the motor industry to support the target

  • Ireland will support developments at EU level to improve average new light and heavy duty vehicle efficiency by enforcing emission performance standards

4. EV charging network

In promoting a switch to EVs and ensuring the national charging network has a supply buffer ahead of demand, the measures include:

  • Continued support for the expansion of the EV charging network as well as the refuelling network for alternatively fuelled vehicles to address freight emissions

  • Deliver charging infrastructure under the Climate Action Fund, to include over 90 high powered chargers at key locations on the national road network, installation of 50 new fast chargers, and replacement of over 250 standard chargers

  • Require new non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces to have at least one recharging point installed by 1 January 2025

  • Require the installation of a minimum number of recharging points for all existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces by 1 January 2025

5. Use of biofuels

  • Ireland established a biofuels obligation scheme and increased the rate for obliged parties to 10% (by volume) from 1 January 2019, with a further increase to 11% (by volume) signalled for 1 January 2020, and will raise the volume of biofuels used in the road transport sector to 10% blend penetration rate in petrol and 12% penetration in diesel by 2030

6. Compressed natural gas (CNG) network

  • Deliver 14 public CNG fuelling stations as part of the Causeway Project, with a view to further expansion of the network

  • Install the first transmission connected CGI facility for renewable gas and a grant scheme to support circa 74 CNG vehicles

7. Emerging technologies

Further investigate decarbonisation options such as hydrogen vehicles, biomethane and AD substitutes for natural gas


In aiming towards decarbonisation, Ireland must increase the numbers of EVs on the roads and usher in a switch to cleaner, alternative fuels, as well as a shift to low-emission mobility. Increasing the number of passenger EVs and promoting electric van sales will be pursued in successive budgets. A rapid acceleration of this trend is expected from about 2024.

The provision of good public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure, will lead to a reduction in the use of cars, cutting congestion. The conversion of public fleets will have a positive impact on emissions and air quality and the transition from petrol and diesel cars to EVs will further impact emissions and air quality.

For more information on the impact of these measures on Ireland’s transport sector, contact a member of our Energy & Utilities team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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