Engineers Ireland welcomes Budget 2017 measures to transition to a low carbon economy & to prog

Engineers Ireland welcomes Budget 2017 measures to transition to a low carbon economy & to progress capital projects

11 October 2016 at 17:27

Engineers Ireland welcomes measures in Budget 2017 to assist in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy including the extension of relief from vehicle registration tax (VRT) on electric vehicles for a period of five years and also the extension of VRT relief for hybrid vehicles for two years.

A relief from carbon tax for solid fuels that include a biomass element to incentivise the development of greener fuels, is also welcome.

The €90 million allocation to enhance the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, the Better Energy Grant Scheme and the electric vehicle (EV) subsidy, to assist with efficient home-heating, improved energy efficiency in businesses and to promote the use of domestic electric cars also received a positive response.

Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland said: “We particularly welcome the incentives for electric vehicle adoption for Irish consumers.    In our State of Ireland 2016 report and our Pre -Budget Submission we called for such measures to encourage drivers to purchase electric vehicles which need to form a much bigger part of the transport fuel mix. With road-based transport equating to 80.6% of all journeys (and private cars making up the majority of that figure at 55.8%), EVs have the potential to make a real impact over time on our environment.  In tandem with these kinds of financial incentives, we also need through a proactive education campaign, to advise our citizens on how their choice of fuel impacts on the global environment and climate change.”

Ms Spillane also welcomed the total capital spending package of over €4.5 billion across a range of Government Departments which will progress spend on regional and local roads, flood relief schemes and the opening of LUAS cross city in 2017. This represents an increase of almost €400 million on the 2016 outturn, reflecting progress in implementing the Government’s Capital Plan, ‘Building on Recovery’, published in 2015.  This represents a 26% increase in capital expenditure in comparison to 2014.

Ms Spillane said: “Our membership, which represents the full spectrum of the engineering profession, has been concerned about under-funding of capital development projects given Ireland’s current and future demographics and has been advocating for this increased investment.  We also welcome the early review of the Capital Plan and the promised, ambitious programme of capital investment next year; - we need to increase expenditure in the Capital Plan as part of that review.”

The membership body also welcomes the €15 million to help progress the National Broadband Plan (NBP) saying: “While some progress has been made in the last number of years there are still some frustrating delays within rural areas. The single most outstanding issue is the awarding of the NBP intervention to a contractor and to confirm the deployment schedule nationally.”