Ireland's climate clampdown on cars and parking

Plans are part of ambitious effort to halve carbon emissions within a decade

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Leinster House. Car parking for politicians outside the government building will be restricted. Getty
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Drivers and their cars are being targeted by the Irish government as it ramps up efforts to clamp down on pollution.

The country will introduce proposals to make people drastically reduce their car journeys using congestion charges and by slashing parking spaces, it has been reported.

The radical plans are part of Ireland’s push for a carbon reduction of 51 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

They are aimed at persuading people to use public transport to reduce car journey distances by 20 per cent.

The government also plans for one in three private cars to be electric within the decade.

Ireland also aims to discourage people driving into towns with a reduction of spaces on street to “improve the public realm” and local authorities will be encouraged to charge “market prices” for parking, the government said.

Even Irish politicians using government offices and parliament will be asked to give up their parking space at Leinster House in Dublin, said Michael McGrath, the finance minister.

“We do not have exceptions for politicians,” Mr McGrath said.

He said that the new measures might be “a chore” but that they were necessary to protect the environment.

Congestion near Naas, in County Kildare. The Irish government plans to slash the distance of car journeys. PA

“I am conscious that this can seem like a chore to a lot of people because we’re going to be asking for sacrifices,” he said.

“But we have to remember why we’re doing it. It’s about protecting the natural environment, enriching our biodiversity and that we’re breathing clean air.”

He added that for people to leave their cars at home “they have to see that there is a practical substitute that works for them” with improved public transport.

To encourage households to use high electricity usage items such as washing machines and dishwashers outside peak hours, a new green electricity tariff will be introduced when there is high wind or boosted solar generation in sunny spells.

Ireland also plans to install solar panels on all new homes, public buildings and schools by 2025.

Updated: December 22, 2022, 1:22 PM