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  • ESG on Transport 12/12/17

    ESG Press Release on Transport Issues                              

    The ESG recently held a lengthy meeting with the Minister for Transport and his team and presented concerns and objectives on this issue. The group was grateful to the Minister for the time given and for his consideration of all issues raised.

    The ESG expressed the need for a bold timeline for implementation of key measures. This it considers a central issue because otherwise there is a danger that proposed measures will take too long to be implemented or might not be acted on at all. It would also provide the community with some indication of the proposed rolling out of significant measures as well as encourage participation and support.

    The issues of idling controls, diesel phase-out and greater incentivisation of electric and hybrid transport were also touched on. Electric buses were also discussed, as were a number of new measures to be introduced soon to promote and further improve the public transport system. Infrastructure for a future growth in electric vehicle ownership was also discussed. Information signs to encourage walking, announced some time ago, still need to be put up, and the ESG understands this is now imminent. The group welcomes the signs on idling at the border.

    The point was raised as to what the Government was going to do to change the “car culture”, via education, something advocated in the STTPP. This is an issue that needs to be seriously addressed if any significant changes are going to be seen in our community’s tendency to be very car-dependent. A promotion campaign in the media would also be useful here.

    The ESG approved the long awaited action finally taken to control deliveries to the town centre and raised teething issues reported to them i.e new commercial loading bays being used by private cars and need for enforcement. This was something that the Ministry was aware of, and planning to address.

    Inevitably, the perennial problem of excess traffic on our roads was raised. The ESG suggested that the ‘Park and Ride’ system that was on the cards years ago, should finally be implemented. This could considerably reduce the number of visiting cars going into the town area. The group also raised concerns about future plans for the new runway tunnel and mobility factors. Clarification was sought on what would happen to pedestrians once the new runway tunnel was operational and expressed the desire to see dedicated shuttles, increased bus services, or even a tram system to mobilise people efficiently.

    A matter that we would also like to see tackled, that is not within the STTP specifically, is the existing situation where second hand buses, which emit harmful pollutants, are still allowed on our roads. Whereas new buses are subjected to very strict polluting laws, buses which have already been imported into the EU, but which no longer comply with existing requirements, are still allowed to operate within the same area. The ESG believes action must be taken by the authorities on this to tackle high levels of roadside pollution even though EU regulations are not being flouted.

    The ESG urges the Government to commit the necessary funds to the implementation of many more of the initiatives suggested in the STTPP, so that they will be in place within the targeted time line.

    The group welcomed the Ministry’s plans to roll out a number of measures that should bring about further improvements soon and agreed to meet more regularly to monitor these more closely.