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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (140)

Duncan Smith


140. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport the engagement he and his Department have had with officials in rail transport as of November 2021 with regard to lower emissions in rail transport and the overall emissions reduction in the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53215/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

An efficient and low emission public transport system forms a key part of the Government's vision for sustainable mobility.

My Department has ongoing engagement with representatives from Iarnród Éireann and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) to discuss operational emissions-reduction measures, such as fuel and supply-chain efficiency programmes, fleet replacement and optimisation, and driver training programmes.

In line with the obligations under the European renewable energy directive, my Department is also considering extending to rail the obligation for renewables in fuel supply, as currently applied to road transport. A renewable fuel for transport policy statement, due to be published by my Department, will set out the pathway to implement this change, as part of a suite of measures to meet European and Climate Action Plan targets.

Longer term rail infrastructure projects, such as the ambitious DART+ project, when completed, will reduce emissions and will also offer significant benefits in terms of multi-modal transit, active transport, and regional connectivity. My Department will continue to engage with Iarnród Éireann to progress this important project and to reduce emissions across the rail network as part of the necessary shift away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable modes of transport.

My Department is also firmly committed to ensuring that air pollutant emissions from transport remain low. Air quality in Ireland is generally good but recent air quality modelling activities by the Environmental Protection Agency suggest that in some heavily trafficked urban areas the dispersal of air pollutants can be challenging.

The interim report of the Urban Transport-Related Air Pollution (UTRAP) working group in March 2021, recommended that emissions in and around Irish terminal railway stations should be further investigated. My Department has commissioned an international best practice review of the localised and wider pollutant contribution of large railway hubs on air quality and further engagement with Iarnród Éireann is planned in the coming months to progress this study and to facilitate emissions monitoring in and around individual stations.