Sunday 4 December 2016

Ministers' Budget plans must be 'green-proofed'

Published 03/10/2016 | 02:30

'What about people who don’t want to cycle everywhere? What about those who don’t appreciate being lectured to by people who are also holding out the begging bowl?' Stock photo
'What about people who don’t want to cycle everywhere? What about those who don’t appreciate being lectured to by people who are also holding out the begging bowl?' Stock photo

Every minister should be "climate change-proofing" their Budget plans and funding for cycle lanes should be fast-tracked, a Dáil committee has recommended.

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A report compiled by the cross-party Budgetary Oversight Committee says that Ireland is "unlikely" to reach its carbon emissions targets by 2020.

This will result in "significant fines" from the EU and as a result the Committee says there is a responsibility on all ministers to include climate change initiatives in their proposals for Michael Noonan and Paschal Donohoe.

The report, which is expected to be released next week, states: "In order to ameliorate the threat of fines, the Committee, aware that there is no major funding stream available in this area, recommends that all budgets should provide incentives that encourage a low-carbon economy."

It proposes greater investment in the retrofitting of buildings and in sustainable transport.

The members recommend that the Government should examine whether funding can be put in place in the Budget to "fast-track" projects like the provision of cycle paths in urban areas.

The report adds that the long-term solution to sustainability in transport is to have "high capacity public transport in cities", and this should be the focus of a review of capital expenditure next year, while recommending that the planning, procurement and tendering phase of Metro North should be brought forward.

Irish Independent

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