Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West, John Curran has said the Transport Minister, Shane Ross has shown quite a lack of ambition to reduce carbon in the Public Transport Sector to date.

The Deputy received a response through Parliamentary Question this month which reveals that just €646,000 of the €5.5 million allocated to the Department of Transport in Budget 2018 to support the decarbonising of our transport sector, is properly accounted for.

He said, “There has been a failure on the Minister’s part to successfully lead meaningful projects that encourage transport operators to implement the necessary steps to operate a low emission fleet.

“For instance, neither the Electric Small Public Services Vehicle Scheme (SPSV) nor the Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive Scheme generated the expected overheads last year. Both of these schemes were allocated €500,000 as part of the Carbon Reduction Programme but only €250,000 was drawn down in the SPSV Scheme and just €166,000 under the Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive Scheme.

“As it stands there are gigantic fines facing our country as a consequence of not meeting predetermined targets on climate change. As a country we don’t have much time to lose, yet this Government has no vision, sees no urgency and most worryingly does not deem it necessary to offer up much leadership on the issue.

“It is not just CO2 emissions that must be dramatically reduced but other chemicals such as Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide are all detrimental to our health and add to poor air quality especially in major urban centres.

“Over 30% of public buses in London are hybrid while 73 fully electric buses transport commuters in and around the city. The French capital has also begun to fully electrify their bus fleet with 60 introduced since 2016. Where is the progress here in Ireland?

“The public are demanding change in the practices proving most harmful to our environment including the public transport systems over production of emissions. To achieve that requires leadership and ambition that we’re yet to see from Minister Ross,” concluded Deputy Curran.