Ministers welcome publication of Phase 2 Low Emission Taskforce Report.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. welcome the publication of the Report of the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Taskforce having presented the Report of Phase 2 to Government.

Having begun work in late 2016, the LEV Task Force looked at a range of measures and options to help accelerate the shift to LEVs in Ireland. Phase 1 focused on electric vehicles (EVs), and the first Progress Report was published in 2018. The focus of this Report is Phase 2 of the Taskforce, which concentrated on other alternative fuels including Natural Gas (CNG and LNG), Biogas, Biofuels and Hydrogen, and how to encourage their widespread adoption in the transport sector.

The work of the LEV Taskforce will feed into the Climate Action Plan annual process, where all actions to help us deliver on our climate commitments are considered and the least cost, least burden options are chosen. The Climate Action Plan, published in June of this year, is the government’s plan to give Irish people a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

Speaking today Minister Ross said:

“The LEV Taskforce has worked with relevant stakeholders over the past year to research alternative fuels to traditional fossil fuels and has produced a number of important recommendations which should be considered by Government in order to ensure that our transport sector moves towards lower emitting fuels as a matter of urgency. While the move to electric vehicles is happening for passenger cars and small public service vehicles, the same is not happening with the freight sector, a sector which was particularly focused on by the LEV Taskforce.” The Minister continued, “The contribution of the transport sector to Ireland’s overall emissions decreased in 2017 and we want to continue that trend by moving away from using fossil fuels to power our vehicles. The work of the LEV Taskforce has been vital to ensure that, across Government, the system is fully on board with this transition”.

Minister Bruton added that:

“The Government, as part of the Climate Action Plan, set a target of 936,000 electric vehicles to be on the road by 2030 – which includes battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This will require around 180,000 electric vehicles in by 2025 and means that by 2030, about one-third of vehicles on our roads will be electric. We expect the significant ramp-up to happen after electric vehicles reach parity with fossil fuel powered vehicles on a Total Cost of Ownership basis in the mid-2020s. All recommendations made by the LEV Taskforce will be considered as part of the annual Climate Action Plan process and indeed some already have been included in the Plan published earlier this year. I’d like to thank the group for their important work.”

The work of the Task Force has fed into the Climate Action Plan and has drawn from across the various key Departments and Agencies. Taskforce members considered the potential roles of various factors in increasing the uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including incentives, infrastructure; public leadership; and planning and building guidelines. The Task Force consulted widely with industry, stakeholders and representative groups throughout its work programme.

Recommendations made by the Task Force include:

• Issue guidance to planning authorities to ensure a consistent and future proofed approach to the rollout of EV charging infrastructure through planning decisions.

• Provide and maintain targeted capital grants for publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure, in particular for on-street chargers.

• Ensure Local Authority Climate Action Charters put in place processes for carbon proofing investment decisions in transport and energy infrastructure.

• Establish a vehicle purchase grant for EV/CNG/LNG/hydrogen fuelled HDVs to support an increased uptake of LEVs.

• Consider extending the current suite of taxation and grant supports available to battery electric vehicles to include all equivalent fuel cell electric vehicles.

• Include CNG/LNG/hydrogen public fuelling stations as a category eligible for support in the next Call for Applications from the Climate Action Fund.

• Prioritise support for indigenous biomethane (for use in CNG and LNG vehicles) and renewable hydrogen in the transport sector as a core element of the development of ‘the Biofuels Obligation Scheme’ for the period 2021-2030