Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, launched on Dridayan initial phase of public consultation on the development of a National Policy Framework to support market uptake of alternative fuels for transport in Ireland.

Following on from last week’s announcements on the Capital Plan, the Minister recognises that ‘building infrastructure and improving network efficiency is only one part of an integrated strategy aimed at developing a low carbon future for transport’.  He added ‘using cleaner, greener fuels is another’.  A key goal in the Government’s Smarter Travel policy is to improve security of energy supply by reducing dependency on imported fossil fuels.  In this context, the Minister noted that ‘it is of some concern that Ireland continues to have such a high dependence on oil in transport so it is clear that greater diversification of fuels in the sector is highly desirable’. 

This consultation, to help develop a national policy, is part of a process being undertaken by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to transpose the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (2014/94/EU).  Given the implications for both the transport and energy sectors, the policy is being developed in close cooperation with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.   As a result, the consultation paper will jointly issue on the websites of both Departments, ‘thus reflecting best practice in cross sectoral cooperation, an approach that is strongly encouraged by this Government’ noted the Minister.

As part of this process, Minister White reflected that ‘the transport system, which underpins our economy and society, remains far too dependent on oil and we have to address this if we are to meet our international commitments on reducing carbon emissions and our use of fossil fuels.  Increasing the amount of alternative fuels can help combat climate change, while also increasing our energy security.’

The Directive requires Ireland to adopt and publish a National Policy Framework that will support the provision of refuelling infrastructure for alternative fuels, common technical standards and appropriate consumer information.  The Directive outlines the main alternative fuel options – electricity, hydrogen and natural gas – that could provide alternatives for oil in transport, both road and maritime. 

The EU Commission requires Member States to bring the Directive into force by 18 November 2016.

The purpose of this consultation process is to collate the views of key stakeholders, interested parties and the general public so as to better inform the preparation of the Policy Framework.  A paper setting out the background to the policy and the key issues is available on the Smarter Travel Website This represents the first phase of a comprehensive consultation process on the policy.  The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport also expects to undertake a second phase of consultation as part of the Strategic Environmental and Natura Impact Assessments. 

The Department would ask that all submissions be forwarded to by 23 November 2015.

It is intended to publish all submissions received on the Departments’ websites. Confidential information should therefore be clearly indicated and, if possible, placed in a separate annex to the main submission.

Original source: Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport