Despite a part-Green government, Ireland is falling behind Europe on the introduction of low emission zones.
Above: One of Bus Atha Cliath’s new EV type buses, compliant with Euro-4 emission standards
The recent introduction of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in London has prompted an article by my colleagues in Coach & Bus Week (CBW) looking at the growing number of LEZs throughout Europe.
What is very notable, apart from the high number of LEZs in some countries, is the complete absence of The Republic of Ireland from the list.
Given the presence of The Green Party in government, and the acknolwedged need for ireland to cut its soaring transport emissions, the introduction of LEZs in major city centres would be a smart move.
Both Dublin Bus (Bus Atha Cliath) and Bus Eireann have the majority of their fleets already to at least Euro II emission standards, and the high level of investment in new stock by private operators means that they are for the most part similarly compliant. The LEZs could act as a form of congestion measure, removing the older and more damaging trucks and small commercial vehicles (and maybe cars?) from our cities.
In addition to the new LEZ in London, CBW lists the following cities with LEZs:
Den Bosch (s’-Hertogenbosch)
s’-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)
What kind of vehicle can drive into them?
All schemes except those in Italy (will) operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All schemes cover diesel heavy goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and most cover buses and coaches. The London scheme will cover vans over 1.205 tonnes (unladen) and minibuses with over 8 seats from 2010. The German schemes cover all vehicles except motorcycles, the Italian schemes include all vehicles – including motorcycles.
For more details, see the CBW website.