In response to the challenge of climate change, achieving a cost-effective way of reducing emissions is the key priority. Ensuring transport infrastructure and services will be able to withstand the likely future impacts of climate change is also a serious concern.
Under the National Development Plan, Ireland has committed to no longer purchase any more diesel-only buses for the urban public bus fleet and to transition to low-emission bus technologies, such as electric buses, in line with the Bus Connects programme. Extensive work has been underway to prepare for this transition in our Public Service Obligation (PSO) fleets.
In order to prepare for this transition and inform future purchasing decisions for the bus fleet, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport convened a working group in June 2018 to plan low emission bus trials to test a broad range of different fuels and technologies on real bus routes in Dublin City and Cork City. The buses are fitted with Portable Emissions Measurements Systems (PEMS) which will measure the exhaust emissions of the vehicle as it travels.
The bus trials commenced in December 2018 and the operational phase was completed in May 2019. The different technologies tested included:
• fully electric;
• compressed natural gas/biogas; and
• two older diesel buses retrofitted to modern Euro-VI exhaust emission standards.
The buses were trialed on the Number 9 route in Dublin City and on the Number 207a route in Cork City allowing performance analysis over a range of topographical conditions.
The trials considered not only CO2 emissions, but the impact on air quality, the contribution potential towards sectoral renewable energy targets as well as other criteria such as costs, fuel economy, availability and infrastructural requirements for each low-emission technology tested.
In line with a commitment under the Climate Action Plan to publish the outcomes of the trials before the end of September 2019, a summary of Key Findings from the Low-Emission Bus Trial has now been published. A detailed report will be published before the end of 2019.
A grant scheme has been established by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in Ireland’s small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry (taxis/hackneys/limousines).
Available to applicants since the 1st of February 2018, the Electric SPSV (eSPSV) Grant Scheme offers grants, nationwide, for the purchase of new and second-hand electric vehicles. A grant of up to €7,000 will be available for battery electric vehicle (BEVs), and up to €3,500 for plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), in addition to the range of other incentives available to EV drivers. Fully hybrid vehicles and vehicles older than 6 years do not qualify for grant support under this scheme.
Applications for the grant should be made directly the National Transport Authority (NTA). The application form and supporting grant scheme guidance documents are available to download from the NTA website or alternatively, please follow the direct links provided:
- Terms and Conditions of the scheme
Home charger grant scheme: This grant scheme allows you to claim up to €600 off the purchase and installation of a home charger. The price of charging your EV at home can cost as little as €2 using cheaper night rate electricity (costs vary by vehicle and electricity supplier) and will be added to your normal electricity bill.
SEAI electric vehicle grant scheme: The SEAI operates a commercial electric vehicle grant scheme which offers up to €3,800 for a new electric vehicle. This is applicable to new vehicles only.
Free public charge points: There are over 900 public charge points available nationwide of which 76 are fast chargers. All of these can be accessed by registering for the ESB’s charge point access card and are currently free of charge. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. To locate your nearest charge point, download the ESB’s ‘ecar connect’ app, available for Apple and Android devices or visit ESB E-cars.
Wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) grant scheme: The NTA also administer a WAV grant scheme for the SPSV industry. This offers up to €7,500 off the price of a new WAV (lesser grant amounts are also available for older second hand vehicles). This grant scheme can be used in conjunction with the aforementioned electric vehicle incentives.
The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), administers the Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive (EVTI) Scheme for electric vehicle (EV) drivers. This Scheme enables EV drivers to avail of discounted rates across a number of toll roads, with a 50% toll discount for BEVs and a 25% toll discount for PHEVs, to a maximum value of €500 for private vehicles and €1,000 for goods vehicles.
All BEVs are eligible for the EVTI Scheme, while PHEVs with CO2 emissions of 80gm per km or less are eligible. Goods vehicles are eligible if they meet these criteria and have a vehicle design gross weight not exceeding 3,500 kg. Conventional hybrid vehicles are not covered by the Scheme. Participating vehicles must be registered and approved for the Scheme by EVTI Toll Tag Providers. Vehicles can only be registered once for the EVTI Scheme i.e. the vehicle cannot be registered with more than one Toll Tag Provider.
In accordance with the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and this department, with the support of the Department of the Taoiseach, have convened an interdepartmental Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) Task Force.
Mitigation is defined in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 as ‘any human intervention aimed at reducing harmful influences on the earth’s climate system, including action aimed at reducing emissions and creating or enhancing sinks’.
Ireland's first National Mitigation Plan was published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in 2017 represents an initial step to set us on a pathway to achieve the level of decarbonisation required and initiated the process of developing medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.
The National Development Plan , published in 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, contains measures to encourage a transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society, including increased funding for public and active transport. These measures were expanded upon in the recently published Climate Action Plan , which commits to achieving a net zero carbon energy systems objective for Irish society and in the process, create a resilient, vibrant and sustainable country.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for a number of actions and targets under these plans, and must report on a regular basis on its progress towards achieving these targets.
Climate change creates new vulnerabilities and worsens existing ones. There is a lot of uncertainty about how, when and where the impacts of climate change will be experienced in Ireland but there is enough data available to start working to build resilience against the likely impacts over the coming decades.
The first adaptation plan for the transport sector, Developing Resilience to Climate Change in the Irish Transport Sector, was published in November 2017. The Plan outlines climate research and analysis on the likely impacts of climate change for transport – including more frequent storm events, rising sea levels and increased incidents of flooding. The Plan also highlights the positive ongoing work in climate change adaptation within the transport sector and other sectors.
Under the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 and the National Adaptation Framework, a Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Transport Infrastructure was required to be developed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. The published Plan, along with supporting SEA and AA Assessments and the Report of Public Consultation Submissions, was published in November 2018.
Further and more detailed Information on the predicted impacts of climate change on Ireland and on a range of adaptation options for Ireland is available on Climate Ireland