herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Petrol and diesel cars could face ban from town centres

Minister Richard Bruton
Minister Richard Bruton

A new climate strategy to be unveiled today will see motorists and businesses feeling the brunt of tax hikes unless they actively invest in going green.

The Government plans to force petrol and diesel cars off our roads, introduce new buildings regulations and change the school curriculum in a bid to counteract climate change.

A leaked copy of the plan seen by the Herald shows it has a major emphasis on the transport sector.

Proposals include banning petrol and diesel cars from town centres around the country.

A car-scrappage scheme is under consideration for next year in a bid to promote a move toward electric vehicles (EVs).

Other measures include: phasing out of oil and gas boilers; doubling of electricity tax on businesses; new levies on single-use plastics, similar to the plastic bag tax; loans for retrofitting homes to be repaid through property tax and changes to private pensions.

The Cabinet will meet today to sign off on the plan.

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton has attached clear timelines for when he expects decisions to be taken, particularly in relation to taxation measures overseen by the Department of Finance.

Over "an appropriate period of time" the current 11c gap in the price of diesel and petrol is to be closed.

The plan recommits the Government to raising carbon tax from the current rate of €20 per tonne to €80 by 2030.

If the carbon tax stood at €80 per tonne, based on today's prices and including VAT, a litre of petrol would be around 17c dearer and diesel 20c.

While the idea of a 'congestion charge' for traffic in central Dublin has been floated in the past, this plan goes much further, with a suggestion for legislation that would ban petrol and diesel cars from town centres altogether.

Restrict

The Government hopes to "provide local authorities with the power to restrict access to certain parts of a city or town to zero-emission vehicles.

Ultimately legislation will be introduced to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars from 2030 and to stop granting NCTs from 2045.

A series of incentives are in the pipeline for people willing to transfer to EVs, including a car-scrappage scheme.

It is hoped there will be a charging network capable of catering for 800,000 EVs in place by 2030.

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