Climate friendly Budget prioritises retro-fitting, sustainable transport and a reduction in emissions

Budget 2021 is strong on Climate Action, prioritising retro-fitting, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the development of sustainable transport, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Alan Farrell is a TD for Dublin Fingal and serves as Fine Gael’s Dáil spokesperson on Climate Action.

“Retro-fitting is a key priority of Budget 2021 which is a really positive move towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. €221.5 million has been allocated for residential and community retrofit programmes. This is a really significant scale up in retrofit activity, an 82% increase on the 2020 allocation and is the largest amount ever allocated for the schemes. Significantly €109 million is allocated for lower income households to retrofit their homes. We must ensure nobody is excluded from the transition to lower emissions.

“Encouraging retro-fitting is also really good for job creation and stimulating the construction sector. I welcome that the Government is prioritising this sector as a key source of employment growth in coming years as we seek to ensure a full economic recovery.

“Funding for the Warmer Homes Scheme will also be increased significantly in order to deliver a greater number of free energy efficiency upgrades to lower income households,” Deputy Farrell said.

“Budget 2021 sees the Carbon Tax increase by €7.50, from €26 to €33.50 euro per tonne of CO2 emission.  This puts us on the path to achieving our target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This target was a key commitment of Fine Gael’s election manifesto after the recommendations of the Climate Action Committee of the last Dáil ably chaired by my Fine Gael colleague Hildegarde Naughton.

“€100m of the carbon tax revenue will go to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.”

“The Budget prioritises the development of a sustainable transport system that is accessible to all citizens, and meets our climate and environmental objectives.

“Core capital expenditure in the Department of Transport is to increase by €0.6 billion or over

32%. The significant increase in allocation will fund: progress for major Project Ireland 2040 programmes including BusConnects Programme, MetroLink and the DART Expansion Programme; the ongoing development of a range of Active Travel and Greenway infrastructure projects; the enhancement of bus, rail and Local Link services throughout the country. It will also fund a number of road projects but we are now heavily investing in more sustainable transport projects than roads projects.

“€360 million is allocated to support walking and cycling projects nationwide, and there is €50 million for Greenways.

“Government will continue to support local communities throughout the years ahead as we change our society to meet our climate change targets, Deputy Farrell concluded.”

Minister of State Naughton said: “We will also support the roll-out of a new Safe Routes to School programme. This will seek to accelerate the delivery of improved walking and cycling infrastructure to schools, enhance sustainable access onto school grounds; and expand the amount of cycle parking available at schools. Underpinning this new initiative, we will see €1 million per day spent on our walking and cycling infrastructure in 2021.”