National Roads Authority drives through national climate policy
In 2009 the Department of Transport published Smarter Travel – A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009 -2020. This policy document includes targets to ensure that by 2020 the total kilometres travelled by the national car fleet does not exceed 2009 levels, and that workplace single-car commuting travel reduces to 45% (from around 65% today), a provision helped by cycle journeys rising to 10% (under the parallel National Cycling Policy Framework).
These targets will not be met because the National Roads Authority is working contrary to government policy. The NRA is pursuing investment such as the over-scaled Gort – Tuam motorway and widening the M7 between Naas and Newbridge by adding extra lanes. An Bord Pleanala and the National Transport Authority (NTA) appear to be rubber-stamping the failure to implement agreed national policy.
Far too much new retail and employment development continues to be car based. Here local authorities and An Bord Pleanala are systemically flouting Smarter Travel. This is shown by consents to swell the size of the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in south Dublin, Kildare Village and car parking at Dublin Airport, along with more than 700 new car spaces for a wholly car-dependent new premises for the Kerry Group outside Naas.
Ireland continues to one of the most car dependent countries in the EU. Apart from climate impact, current failed car-oriented construction is putting Ireland directly on a path back to chronic congestion and high levels of local air pollution, all of which contribute to asthma, bronchitis together with more complex respiratory and coronary ailments.