Minister Joe O’Brien hails new council department with focus on climate change and active travel

10th December, 2020

Follows the Ministers work to secure a 2:1 ratio of spend on infrastructure for active travel as part of negotiations for the Programme for Government

Minister Joe O’Brien of State for Community Development and Charities and T.D for Fingal, has welcomed the establishment of a new Department within Fingal County Council  with a specific remit for climate action and active travel. The Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel Department will have responsibility for mobility planning and the delivery of the National Transport Authority’s cycle network within Fingal as well as climate action, the enforcement of environmental regulations and the protection and promotion of the environment.

Speaking about the creation of the new Department Minister O’Brien said,

“The establishment of this Department is a clear indication that Fingal County Council is committed to prioritising the promotion of Active Travel as part of its ongoing commitment to Climate Action.”

“During the negotiations for the Programme for Government, an area I fought hard on, was to secure commitments for 10% of the transport budget to be allocated to cycling and 10% to walking, and I want to see a safe and sustainable environment for active travel in our Fingal.”

“The increase in the funding available for active travel, while welcome, also meant a significant increase in the sheer volume of competing demands, particularly within the Operations Department. By creating a standalone department with the specific remit of climate action and active travel will mean a relieve on the bottleneck of projects within the Council.”

With the increase in funding for active travel in the Programme for Government, National Transport Authority is challenging Fingal to deliver 130kms of new cycling infrastructure over the next five years and this department, once properly resourced, is crucial in delivering on this task and more.”

Green Party councillor for the Skerries and Balbriggan area, Cllr Karen Power also welcomed the news saying:

“With financial and policy backing at national level for active travel we have a very real opportunity to fundamentally change how we get from A to B all across Fingal. This will take more than infrastructure alone, it will take education and information to bring about a change in mindset with regards to how we choose to travel. A Department with the specific remit of active travel is best placed to deliver not only the infrastructure but also this change in mindset.

“The Council taking steps towards creating a solid active travel network will mean that Fingal will be a much safer place for everyone to walk and cycle to school and I look forward to continuing to work with those in the new Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel Department in Fingal County Council to continue to increase sustainable travel options for all our communities in Fingal.

For more information please contact Karen Power, karen.power@oireachtas.ie