— Report says towns and rural areas should not be left behind on funding for cycling.
The Department of Transport and local councils should look at improving the safety of walking and cycling on all road categories, “preferably segregated from traffic”, the Climate Change Advisory Council said today in its Annual Report.
At a briefing on the report, the group said: “Ireland is completely off course in addressing the challenge of climate change.” Instead of the required 1 million tonne per year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions Ireland needs, the country is currently increasing emissions at a rate of 2 million tonnes per year.
In a clear reference to the Government’s capital budget, which focuses only on cycling for transport in cities, the advisory group said that towns and rural areas “should not be left behind” on funding for cycling.
Chairperson John Fitzgerald speaking at the launch of the report said “Emissions are rising… we need major policy changes and government has not laid out pathways to decarbonise.”
In the transport section of the wide-ranging report, on the issue of cycling, the report states that: “Increased rates of cycling seen at a national level, mostly in the Dublin region, have been the most positive development in sustainable transport in recent years. Walking and cycling are often portrayed as the most sustainable transport modes, having the benefits of exercise and health as well as zero carbon emissions.”
“However, a significant practical and behavioural barrier to walking and cycling, even where distances are short, is the real or perceived safety concerns. Dedicating road space to cyclists and pedestrians, preferably segregated from traffic can greatly reduce safety concerns. The Annual Transition Statement 2017 stated a commitment to investment of over €100 million to a multi-annual urban cycling and walking programme.”
It adds: “Town and rural areas should not be neglected. A greenways strategy is expected to be published in 2018. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, together with local authority engineers, should explore strategies for improving the safety of walking and cycling on all road categories.”
The report can be found at climatecouncil.ie.