— Opposition to funding despite Dail vote and climate report calling for higher funding for cycling alone.
Ireland’s climate minister, Richard Bruton, has argued against investing 10% of transport infrastructure funding in walking and cycling, according to a report in The Sunday Times yesterday.
Minister Bruton’s lack of interest in cycling goes against an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which highlighted a switch to cycling as a means of climate emission reduction.
The senior Fine Gael minister and, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, is claimed to have made the comments in relation to Government formation talks between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Green Party.
The Sunday Times reported: “The Greens want 10%, or about €450m, of the transport capital budget allocated to cycleways and walking infrastructure. Richard Bruton, the energy minister, has pointed out that just 2% of Irish people regularly cycle while 80% use cars.”
Bruton’s opposition is despite the Green Party seeking the same funding for cycling as agreed in a Fianna Fail-proposed Dail motion, and in an all-party climate change report.
While Green Party sources would not comment on the on-going negotiations, it is understood that the party is seeking 10% of the transport capital budget for cycling and another 10% for walking as per a letter sent to Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin before the talks started.
A UN report recommended “at least 20%” for walking and cycling, and 10% for cycling alone was recommended a Parliamentary vote in January 2019 and followed up by the all-party Report on Addressing Climate Change in Ireland published in April 2019.
A 2016 United Nations Environment Programme report, ‘Global outlook on walking and cycling’, said that countries should: “Set aside at least 20% of the total transport budget to fund NMT (non-motorised user) programmes at national and city level. Measure the measurable goals, then collect the data you need and evaluate your success.”
Last year, the Report on Addressing Climate Change, by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, said: “In particular, every local authority should set forth a clear pathway and, in all urban areas; and that the DTTAS (Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport) should also significantly increase funding in dedicated cycling infrastructure; In addition, in line with the motion of the Dáil on Promoting Cycling approved on 17th January, 2019, all current transport infrastructure programmes should immediately be revised to achieve at least 10% expenditure on facilitating cycling.”
EDITED: Article edited to include clarity of what is understood to be the differences between that it was reported the Minister said and the Green Party position of looking for 10% funding for walking and 10% for cycling.