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Environmental Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 16 November 2021

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Questions (180)

Jennifer Whitmore


180. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Transport if a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles is allowable under EU legislation; if his Department has sought legal advice on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55501/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

A national ambition has been firmly established that by 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero-emission capable.

The European Commission have indicated that a complete ban of the marketing, import or registration of new ICE vehicles in a Member State is not compatible with EU law. The Treaty of the Functioning European Union (TFEU) and the Maastricht Treaty ban the imposition of unjustified barriers (quantitative or otherwise) on the sale/import of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State. The treaties do not preclude bans or restrictions on imports, exports or goods in transit justified on grounds of public morality, public policy or public security; the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants; the protection of national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value; or the protection of industrial and commercial property. The conditions under which motor vehicles can be placed on the market in the EU have been harmonised through the EU’s internal market competence under Article 114 TFEU; in principle any vehicle meeting the requirements of the Type Approval Framework under Directive 2007/46/EC2 should be permitted to be sold anywhere in the EU.

Ireland was signatory to a non-paper to the Commission earlier this year requesting a phase-out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the EU in line with the objective of climate neutrality by 2050 as well as the introduction of a legal framework that allows Member States to move ahead by taking action at national level to incentivise early phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. The paper can be viewed at

In addition, on Transport Day at COP26, I signed a sponsored declaration to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans. The declaration is an important signal of ambition at a global level. In line with our Programme for Government commitments, Ireland has even greater ambitions, targeting a switch over of one million electric vehicles by 2030 to bring us on a trajectory to achieving electrification of all new car sales well ahead of 2035

These declarations are consistent with Ireland’s ambitions to tackle transport emissions. They follow the recent publication of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) ’21 which outlines a pathway to a radical and equitable transformation in Ireland’s transport sector over the next nine years as it moves towards decarbonisation.