Ireland’s climate action plan “unsatisfactory” on cycling, says European group

December 31 is the deadline for the Irish Government to fix a lack of focus on cycling in its draft climate action, the European Cyclists’ Federation has said.

Earlier this year, the European Cyclists’ Federation said that efforts by the Irish Government to include cycling measures in its draft climate action plan only amounts to “minimum efforts” and is “unsatisfactory”.

“Nine Member States – Finland, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden – have made minimum efforts in referencing cycling, that we judge ‘unsatisfactory’,” said Fabian Küster, senior policy officer at the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF).

Küster appeared on front of the Irish parliamentary committee on Climate Action in June, at the time he said: “I also want to applaud Ireland on its plans to go electric. There is one major omission in the strategy, however, and that is leaving out the electric bicycle, e-bike.”

Küster along with two other speakers also called for investment in infrastructure.

The EU-wide rankings put Ireland in the second worst ranking category, which ranged from insufficient / inexistent to excellent. The draft plan lacked a modal shift goal, measurable target to grow cycling by 2030, and a defined budget for cycling.

The ECF found that the draft plan also did not make reference to a Sustainable Mobility Plan, an Active Mobility Law, reference to a National Cycling Strategy, intermodality, improving road safety for cyclists, awareness-raising & promotion of cycling, and fiscal incentives

France and United Kingdom are only two EU member states gain an “excellent” mark — the ECF said that was because of strong references which included a clear budget, commitment to modal shift and reference to a cycling or active mobility law. While only Austria and Italy received a “good” grade.

Küster said: “As part of the EU’s Energy and Climate Policies 2030, Member States were required to develop national Energy and Climate Plans. ECF’s analysis of the 28 draft National Energy and Climate Plans draw the conclusion that cycling is not yet adequately represented as a fully-fledged solution to slash carbon emissions in the transport sector.”

“To score the draft National Energy and Climate Plans, ECF selected a set of thirteen indicators. In particular, we paid attention to four major elements: a reference to cycling and a modal shift goal; a commitment of making public investments in favor of cycling; a clear reference to national cycling strategies, active mobility laws and Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning; and references to targeted pro-cycling measures.”

He added: “The overall assessment of the EU-28 countries combined only reaches a 3/10, a clearly unsatisfactory result regarding the EU objectives in reducing green house gases, For ECF this means that more efforts need to be made for a better consideration of cycling – and more generally active mobility – in the final National Energy and Climate Plans that Member States have to submit to the European Commission by the end of year 2019.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

3 Comments

  1. So according to the map Ireland is doing better than The Netherlands , yeah right.

  2. @bigx — it’s not that Ireland is doing better then them, it’s that The Netherlands has failed to include cycling in its draft climate action plan submitted to the EU.

    In reality the Dutch are — of course— ahead on action. But that can lead not pushing as hard as they could. It might be easier to bring cities up to 30-50% cycling modal share than it is to bring then beyond that.

    And not all of the Netherlands is as cycling-friendly as the better parts. Some cities and regions are behind others and lot of work to be done on inter-urban trips too.

  3. And of course Cyclist.ie is the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)! Cyclist.ie briefs the ECF on Irish related issues, and Damien O Tuama our National Cycling Co-ordinator is on the Board of the ECF.
    We have the so called ‘PLANS’, but they need to be translated into ACTION!

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