Earlier this year the revised Clean Vehicles Directive Directive (EU) 2019/1161 was given effect by means of Statutory Instrument No 381 of 2021 European Communities (Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, with effect from 02 August 2021.
The specific aim is to increase the up-take of low-emission and zero-emission vehicles in the public sector fleets, by setting binding minimum targets for procurement undertaken by public sector bodies. This builds on the positive leadership and market impacts that green public procurement policies can have on the development and uptake of innovative lower-carbon goods and services; and, complements wider Government commitments to transition public and private transport fleets from fossil fuel technologies.
Ireland now has a legal obligation to ensure that a proportion of public vehicle procurement is low-emission or zero-emission.
Definitions of what constitute ‘clean’ vehicles are established in the legislation based on vehicle type. Light duty clean vehicles are defined by specified low tail-pipe emissions levels. For the heavy duty sector, ‘clean’ vehicles are defined by low or zero-emission power - with a range of alternative fuel technologies included in this definition (such as battery, hydrogen fuel cell, biofuel, synthetic-fuel and gas-powered vehicles).
All public sector bodies will be compelled to apply the Directive if the value of their vehicle procurements is above relevant procurement thresholds as set out in Regulations amending the EU thresholds for the Directives 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU. Public sector bodies will also be required to report these vehicle procurements to facilitate national-level reporting to the EU.
The Directive applies to cars, vans, trucks and buses (excluding coaches), procured through:
- Purchase, lease, rent or hire-purchase contracts under obligations set by EU public procurement rules;
- Public service contracts for the provision of passenger road transport services;
- Services contracts for public road transport services, special-purpose road passenger-transport services, non-scheduled passenger transport, refuse collection services, and mail and parcel transport and delivery.
There is considerable variation in the technological maturity of alternative fuel technologies for the different vehicle categories and types included in the Directive's provisions. The Directive and the associated regulations have been designed to take this into account and two reference periods for procurement targets have been set between now and 2030 with different minimum procurement targets applying to each. Between now and 2025, 38.5% of light-duty vehicles, 10% of trucks and 45% of buses procured under the relevant procurement value thresholds must be clean vehicles.
Between 2025 and 2030, the minimum procurement target of 38.5% clean vehicles will still apply to light duty vehicles, but more stringent targets will apply to heavy vehicles included in the Directive’s provisions. In this later reference period, 15% of trucks and 65% of buses will have to be clean vehicles.
Due to the current limitations of alternative fuels technologies, certain categories of vehicle have also been excluded or have been exempted from the provisions of the Directive. These include coaches, specialised heavy duty vehicles used in agriculture and forestry, special vehicles used by the police, defence forces, civil and fire protection, as well as ambulances, hearses, wheelchair accessible cars and mobile cranes. As alternative fuel technologies for these vehicle segments develops, it is intended that these exemptions will be reviewed in future iterations of the Directive, and that national procurement targets will be amended as appropriate.
My Department will continue to work with public bodies to ensure that they are aware of the requirements of the Directive as provided for under the new Regulations and will support industry in developing relevant guidance material in this regard.