Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar today chaired the EU Transport Council in Brussels which discussed new European Commission proposals for a clean power transport revolution across Europe.
Transport Ministers from across the EU supported in principle the Commission’s very ambitious proposals to break the transport sector’s dependency on oil and promote market take-up of clean power fuelling points across the EU. There was a strong call for further discussions on the Commission’s targets and deadlines for providing charging points in Member States, and for greater flexibility in the proposals.
Minister Varadkar: I’m delighted that the Irish Presidency has kicked-off the negotiation on Clean Power proposals with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050
This was the first political discussion at the Transport Council of a radical and visionary plan to provide a clean power infrastructure across Europe, including electric vehicle charging points for cars, fuelling stations for gas-powered ships and heavy vehicles in our ports.
The Transport Ministers debated the European Commission’s directive to require each Member State to provide a minimum number of fuelling points for vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, and natural gas. These would be installed in public places, on motorways, and in homes and workplaces. EU Member States would also have to put in place regulatory supports and incentives to encourage industry and motorists to utilise clean power vehicles.
Ireland currently has 1,100 charging points for electric road vehicles, but the Directive proposes increasing this to 6,000 by 2015, and to 22,000 by 2020. There would also be fuelling points for other fuel types, and on motorways to facilitate longer journeys. One of the most radical proposals would be to provide clean power charging and fuelling facilities for ships as well.
“This is a really ambitious proposal which has the potential to unleash a clean power revolution in transport across Europe. I’m delighted that the Irish Presidency has kicked-off the negotiation on these proposals with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050,” Minister Varadkar said.
“In my view, the best way to tackle climate change and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to utilise new technologies, and reduce our dependency on imported oil. Further discussions will now follow on how to reach agreement on this important issue.”
The Ministers also discussed road safety, and Minister Varadkar announced that Ireland will host a road safety conference on 28 March as part of the EU Presidency. The new Road Safety Strategy which will run until 2020 will be launched at the conference.