The Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy - which was prepared by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and approved by my predecessor earlier this year - commits to promoting transport options that will reduce carbon emissions.
Various policies related to climate change, carbon emissions and associated action plans were still under development at the time of preparation of the Strategy. The Strategy explicitly recognises that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 includes provisions for the preparation of a "national mitigation plan" and a "national adaptation framework" which will establish energy related targets and actions to be adopted across the transport sector. The Strategy commits to incorporating relevant targets and actions arising from that Act and related policies in the area of transport energy within its statutory Integrated Implementation Plans. Incorporation of such relevant targets and actions may increase the current forecasted impact of the Strategy in terms of reducing carbon emissions.
In line with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, an ambitious low-carbon development strategy, the National Mitigation Plan, is currently being developed.
Specific focus is being placed on the sectorial areas of electricity generation, the built environment, agriculture and transport. The responsibility for emissions reduction is, of course, a collective one and Ireland's EU emission reduction targets are national and not sectorial in nature. When all sectorial inputs have been co-ordinated, the draft mitigation plan will be available for extensive public consultation before being submitted for approval to Government. Transport will of course have to play a significant role on the national mitigation effort. The measures under consideration for transport will be wide-ranging and will focus on modal shift, movement to alternative fuels and targeted behavioural change.
Finally it is not accurate to say that only 1% of my Department's capital budget is devoted to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and facilities. While €100m of my Department's €10bn capital allocation over the seven year period of the Capital Plan is earmarked for Smarter Travel, this does not reflect the totality of funding for cycling and walking measures.
Significant funds are awarded to the NTA on an annual basis for the delivery of cycling and walking infrastructure in the GDA in cooperation with the relevant local authorities. Under the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) Programme, my Department provides funding to the NTA for the seven local authorities in the GDA for the implementation of sustainable transport measures which include cycling and walking infrastructure as well as QBCs, safety, integration and traffic management projects throughout the region. Funding of €23.2m has been allocated to this Programme in 2016 alone.
The NTA also manages a similar sustainable transport grants programme - the Regional Cities Programme - in the four regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Overall funding for these two programmes in 2016 is €36.7m.