I propose to take Questions Nos. 91, 154 and 708 together.
These questions relate to the Smarter Transport Bill, which was introduced last year by Deputy Eoghan Murphy as a Private Members' Bill, and the related matters of electric vehicles and car clubs. The purpose of the Smarter Transport Bill is twofold. First, it aims to promote electric car use by allowing local authorities to make by-laws for the provision and use of charging bays on public roads. Second, it aims to promote the development of car clubs by allowing road authorities to make by-laws for the control and regulation of parking by car club vehicles on public roads.
I support the promotion of electric and hybrid vehicles as one of the ways to reduce pollution and improve our environment. With the current state of technology, which is advancing all the time, there are limits on the distance electric cars can travel before recharging. The provision of recharging points is, therefore, an important component in encouraging the use of electric cars.
Car clubs have proven very successful in other jurisdictions, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom. A particular benefit is that families often find that by joining a car club they can avoid the need for a second family car, especially in cases where they might need a second vehicle only occasionally. As with electric cars, I am also in favour of car clubs as a way of reducing the number of vehicles on our roads. I am, therefore, very happy to support appropriate measures to promote electric cars and car clubs.
I have met Deputy Murphy on the subject and conveyed my support for the principle of promoting electric cars and car clubs as set out in his Private Members' Bill. My Department is engaged in work on the development of the next road traffic Bill, which I hope to publish at the end of 2012. This Bill will address a number of issues and will provide an opportunity to consider proposals for facilitating electric cars and car clubs. As far as is possible, I intend to include the proposed measures from the Smarter Transport Bill in the road traffic Bill.