New regulations aimed at phasing out petrol and diesel-powered public transport are "vital" and can become a motivator for privately-owned fleets to follow suit, a transport expert has said.
SUSTAINABILITY & CLIMATE
Check out our Sustainability and Climate Change Hub where you will find the latest news, features, opinions and analysis on this topic from across the various Irish Examiner topic desks and their team of specialist writers and columnists.
Dr Brian Caulfield, Trinity College Dublin associate professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, hailed the new laws which give effect to the EU’s Clean Vehicle Directive.
The regulations transpose into Irish law the provisions of the EU directive around the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles within public bodies.
That means the setting of binding minimum targets for the share of ‘clean’ vehicles in procurements undertaken by public sector bodies, as well as allowing them to apply to vehicle purchase, lease, hire-purchase and rental contracts, and as vehicles to carry out works under certain types of service contract.
The European Commission said the directive applies to cars, vans, trucks and buses, excluding coaches, when they are procured.
Mr Caulfield said: "This is a very important development and the department, and the Minister should be supported in these efforts.
"State funding in this area is key to stimulate the growth in vehicles in this market and also to stimulate the secondhand market."
He said steps like this are vital and private companies that have large fleets of vehicles should also be targeted by this scheme.
"This would have several benefits, namely the reduction in emissions from these vehicles, but also taxi drivers tend to have a high turnover in cars. This turnover would also then benefit the second-hand electric vehicle market.
"This could make the price of electric cars lower for those that may not be able to afford a brand-new car, thereby aiding a just transition in this area," he said.
Transport and environment minister Eamon Ryan said clean and energy-efficient vehicles are a central element in our future low-emissions transport systems.
"These regulations bring Ireland in line with the European Clean Vehicle Directive targets for public procurement of road transport vehicles, and a step further on the pathway to net-zero carbon by 2050," he added.
Initial targets are legally binding and will become more stringent from 2026.