Plan for electric vehicles needs to take rural Ireland into account

Planning needs to begin immediately for a National Grid of charge points for electric vehicles, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Cork Senator Tim Lombard, Member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee On Climate Action, has been examining the feasibility of operating an electric car in rural Ireland.

Senator Lombard said: “As we make the transition to electric vehicles it is abundantly clear that we need to put the appropriate infrastructure in place across the whole country as quickly as possible.

“Under Project Ireland 2040, €200 million has been set aside for the provision of infrastructure for electric vehicles, with a view to phasing out non-electric vehicles over the next 12 years.

“The EU has introduced a new directive for the provision of car change points. This means that all new buildings will require the appropriate enabling infrastructure and buildings undergoing major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces by 2020.

“The directive requires the installation of a minimum number of recharging points for existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces by 2025.

“The Secretary General of the Department of Housing, John McCarthy, told our committee that the Department are in the process of drafting these regulations and will be publishing them for public consultation in 2019.

“The Department are currently consulting with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) in this process and will have the regulations in place by March 2020.

“I believe that we need to examine the issue of rural infrastructure concurrently. At the moment we can’t travel from Dublin to Cork without recharging an electric vehicle.

“I believe that as technology improves battery performance should increase, but in rural Ireland the infrastructure needs to be in place to make the technology feasible,” the Fine Gael Senator said.

 

17 October 2018

Electric vehicle charging network set for overhaul

Cork will greatly benefit from a multi-million euro pot to develop a state of the art electric vehicle charging network, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Tim Lombard, a candidate for the next General Election in the Cork South-West constituency, said such an initiative by the Government will encourage more drivers to use electric vehicles.

As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government’s new Climate Action Fund was announced today (Wednesday). One of the seven projects to receive a slice of the €77m funding is a scheme to enable electric cars become a more viable proposition for all motorists.

Seanad Spokesman on Climate Change, Tim Lombard, is part of an Oireachtas committee which is looking at ways to encourage people to go for the greener driving alternative. Earlier this year, as part of a green awareness campaign, he took to the M8 and M7 motorway from Cork to Dublin in an electric car to see how beneficial the vehicles were.

“I’m greatly encouraged by today’s announcement. Up to €10m is being provided to develop a nationwide, state of the art electric vehicle charging network capable of facilitating large-scale electric vehicle uptake over the next decade,” Senator Lombard said.

“Cork, the biggest county in Ireland and with a vast road network, will obviously be a central part of future plans to encourage more people to use electric cars and electric charging points. I know from my own experiences that we need to vastly improve our electric charging network to allow for more climate friendly vehicles in the future. There is still not enough charging points.

“The Government is committed to making Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. The Government’s Climate Action Fund, under Project Ireland 2040, will provide at least €500 million in funding to support initiatives that provide for the kind of step change that is needed,” Senator Lombard said.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said, “Project Ireland 2040 provides for an unprecedented investment of €22 billion in climate action over the next decade; the largest single package within the plan. Our commitment and determination to climate action is evident; we are working to take peat and coal off the grid by the middle of the next decade and to have 500,000 electric vehicles on our roads by 2030.  From 2030, no new diesel or petrol cars will be sold in Ireland.”

Announcing the projects, Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said: “The decisions we make now in tackling climate change will define the next century. I want to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, not a follower. That will require a significant step change right across our society.

“The projects we are supporting under the Fund, will support decarbonisation across the transport, heat, electricity and agriculture sectors and demonstrate the types of investments we need to make. For example, the investment we are making in the ESB to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle charging network, will be crucial to reducing range anxiety and supporting individuals to move to electric vehicles,” Minister Bruton said.

 

28 November 2018

Let’s help drive change with electric vehicles

The new Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action will consider ways in which the Government can further support the transition to electric vehicles, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Seanad spokesperson on Climate Action, Senator Lombard, said: “We all know the cost of running a car to our pockets with fuel, tax and insurance. But what is the cost to the environment?

“Earlier this year, 96% of the members of the Citizen’s Assembly recommended that the State should immediately take steps to support the transition to electric vehicles.

“I would like the Climate Action Committee to explore what else we can do to support motorists choosing electric vehicles, who are driving change every time they turn on the ignition.

“From last month, drivers of electric cars have seen their toll charges halved in a nod to their environmental impact.

“Motorists can avail of grants of up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new electric vehicle and up to €5,000 VRT relief.

“They will also benefit from the lowest road tax band at €120. A home charge point grant of up to €600 is also available.

“Businesses should be aware that there is zero Benefit in Kind for company battery electric vehicles, while taxi drivers can avail of a purchase grant of up to €7,000.

“Many still choose traditional diesel or petrol engines because they are believed to be more economical – even as the cost of ownership of electric cars goes down.

“This new funding is helping to offset this cost and allow more people to access a sustainable, and more cost-effective, method of transportation.

“There are currently over 6,000 electric vehicles registered in the State – over 60% more than we had last year. We must look at how we can encourage this uptake further.”

Senator Lombard continued: “Public charging has been free since 2010 and there are well over a thousand charging points around the country.

“But I believe there should be more and even faster charging points to make electric cars more convenient for customers, especially in rural areas.

“The more visible and plentiful charging points are – the more realistic an option the change to electric vehicles becomes for people.

“This is something we will explore further on the Committee, as well as other new policies to protect our environment and ensure Ireland becomes a leader in this area.”

Senator Lombard concluded: “The National Development Plan commits the Government to no new non-zero emission cars to be sold in Ireland post 2030.

“In effect, there will be a ban on tailpipes on new cars from 2030. We will become the first EU country to do so. It is intended that no NCT certificate will be issued for non-zero emission cars post-2045.

“That is one of the most ambitious commitments on zero emissions on passenger cars in the entire EU.

“There will also be a transition to a low emission urban bus fleet, including electric buses, with no diesel-only buses purchased from 1 July 2019.

“The low-carbon, climate resilient transition ahead will require a societal transformation and engagement with wider society on an ongoing basis will be vital as we drive change.”

 

23 August 2018

Extended WIFI4EU scheme

Cork Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed the extension of the EU funded free public Wi-Fi scheme. The European Parliament announced the WIFI4EU scheme last year, whereby it would fund public Wi-Fi hotspots across EU towns and villages.

The scheme proposed funding high speed internet connection in public areas, with one voucher for equipment and installation to be provided to each Local Authority.

Senator Lombard said: “I welcomed the initiative in the Seanad earlier this year but also questioned whether one location was enough; many other EU Member States have Local Authority equivalents that are smaller in size and greater in number, thus Ireland would have been restricted in benefitting as greatly from this scheme as other states.

“Recent communication from Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, has verified that the EU has agreed to increase funding for Ireland from 1 to 4 towns per Local Authority.

“This is a positive and unique opportunity for West Cork; free public Wi-Fi in four of our local towns is a welcome step in bolstering connectivity in rural Ireland, and would be particularly good for tourism in Cork as tourists will be able to connect to local Wi-Fi hotspots when visiting our towns and villages.”

 

14 August 2018

Smart lighting fund for SME’s can lead to 90% savings on lighting costs

Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed that national applications are now open for €3 million Lighting Upgrade Grant Scheme.

Senator Lombard said that funding has been increased this year following a successful pilot scheme in 2017, the scheme will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and applications are open until May 31st 2018.

“The grant is open to small businesses across all sectors, including retail, hospitality, tourism, private education, health facilities, and manufacturing.

“Applications can be submitted by individual businesses or by coordinators [who group applications and can deliver lighting upgrades for a number of businesses].

Senator Lombard continued: “The Programme for Partnership Government committed to providing additional resources to help support start-ups and small businesses across the country.

“There are currently over 200,000 SMEs operating in Ireland and this scheme aims to support energy efficient lighting upgrades across all SME sectors.

“Collectively small businesses account for a significant portion of national and global energy demand. The smart lighting grant will significantly help businesses reduce their energy-use, supporting our local economies but also helping to protect our environment.

“We in Fine Gael believe that our small businesses need these types of support to help them thrive in our resurgent economy. I would like to thank Minister Naughten for making this funding available.”

 

09 May 2018

Defence Forces and Civil Defence played vital role during Storm Emma

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, is praising members of the Defence Forces and Civil Defence for the vital roles they played throughout the country in response to Storm Emma.

Nationwide, over 1,332 members of the Defence Forces were deployed in response to over 300 separate requests for assistance by primary response agencies such as the HSE, An Garda Síochána, the ESB and local authorities. Defence Forces operations staff also liaised with their counterparts at National and Regional Emergency Coordination Group level advising on capabilities and resources available during the emergency period.

According to Senator Lombard the activities of the defence forces personnel included transporting patients and medical staff, transporting meals, clearing paths and generally assisting the emergency services.

The Civil Defence, which is made up of 3,500 volunteers, also played an integral part in keeping our communities safe. Some the activities of the Civil Defence here in Cork included: numerous patient transfers and transportation of district nurses and essential staff to vulnerable clients; providing support to vulnerable persons; transported people from adult disability centre in Skibbereen to their homes in Dunmanway, Bantry, and Clonakility; activated a severe weather resilience desk which provided a focal point for Voluntary Emergency Services to support the PRAs.

Senator Lombard commended the work of both the Defence Forces and Civil Defence in response to Storm Emma, saying: “We cannot list all the ways in which these personnel assisted our communities during the recent snow storm. Both the Defence Forces and Civil Defence showed tremendous leadership during this severe weather period; from assisting the national ambulance service to our ESB crews, their contribution to our community deserves the utmost of recognition.

“Personnel worked night and day, supported by many of their local colleagues in the national ambulance service and coastguard.  What we saw during Storm Emma was incredible collaboration between all the state agencies.

“I know I speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank you to the Defence Forces, Civil Defence, and all state bodies that were involved in the response.

“While the storm may be over, the clean-up must now take place. Our local council will work with other agencies to ensure all life returns to normal in all communities across the county.

“We have seen recently, with both Storm Ophelia and Storm Emma, that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. That’s why it is important we invest in climate action. The New National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040, contains provision for €22bn of investment in this area.”

Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe was actively involved in coordinating the overall response to Storm Emma.

Minister Kehoe said: “Our personnel have worked round the clock throughout the past number of days as part of the response efforts to Storm Emma. The Defence Forces and Civil Defence always remain on standby to assist in cases of emergency.  I want to again thank them for their tremendous service in keeping our communities safe.”

 

05 March 2018

Increased funding will help tackle illegal dumping in Cork

Over €40,000 has been allocated to 23 projects in Cork County to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping following work by Cork-based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard.

Senator Lombard said: “Illegal dumping is a massive blight on our communities. It shows a complete lack of respect for other people and for the environment.

“Fine Gael’s priority, with this recent funding increase, is to build on the progress we have made in protecting our natural environment to ensure we preserve it for future generations.

“Covert surveillance and smart technology including aerial imagery from drones and satellites, as well as the installation of CCTV cameras will form a central part of this crackdown. We will also see better enforcement of anti-dumping measures and stronger prosecutions being made.”

The following projects will be funded here in Cork:

  • Ballincollie Road
  • Bantry Bay Shoreline Clean Up
  • Blackstone Bridge
  • Blackwater Community Clean Up
  • Carrigduff Mallow Clean Up
  • Courtstown Little Island
  • Glengarriff Community Clean Up
  • A local Solution to a Local Problem
  • Rathcooney & District
  • Rathpeacon Area
  • Anti-Dumping Initiative at Bring Sites
  • Oilean Chleire (Cape Clear Island) Project
  • Sherkin/Heir Islands Project
  • Nashs Boreen, Fairhill Project
  • Covert Monitory of Lay-Bys Project
  • Blarney/Macroom MDC
  • Tools to Support Community Based Initiatives & Projects
  • Cobh/Glanmire MDC
  • Kantury / Mallow MDC Projects 1-3
  • Tools to Support Bring Site CCTV Monitoring

Senator Lombard added: “The response to last year’s anti-dumping initiative from the public and local authorities was unprecedented. 230 black spots across the country were cleaned up and measures put in place to protect against a return of illegal dumping in these areas.”

Speaking at the launch of the 2018 Anti-Dumping Initiative Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D said: “As the Minister responsible for rural development, I am acutely conscious of the threat that illegal dumping poses to jobs, incomes and investment on those areas of our country whose growth is dependent on the preservation and protection of our magnificent landscapes, and our clean waterways.

“Community groups that engage in local clean-ups, motivated purely by a love of place and pride in parish, have been the bulwark against those who engage in this deplorable practice.

“We owe these volunteers a debt of gratitude. Last year I provided a once off allocation of €1.4 million to Tidy Towns groups around the country to support their voluntary work to make their communities better places.”

 

16 February 2018

6% increase in Cork employment opportunities

 

Job creation in Cork is up by 6% in the last year – an increase of 1,372 jobs throughout the county.

“This is excellent news for all of us here in Cork, and is consistent with the strong employment performance across the economy.

“I am very pleased to see this strong level of job creation delivered by Government-backed companies; the employment boost from Enterprise Ireland backed companies shows the Regional Action Plans for Jobs is delivering for Cork.

“Fine Gael’s priority is to support companies across the entire country to continue to build on a strong national job creation performance. We are committed to strengthening our communities through employment creation, and building a sustainable future for all our citizens.

“Over 19,000 jobs were created across Ireland by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2017, with every county seeing job increases. We have seen particularly strong jobs growth in the Construction, Engineering, Lifesciences, Digital Technology, Electronics, Food and ICT sectors across the country.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations it is vital that we are prepared, and the Government continues to take initiatives to bolster the capacity of our enterprise agencies to drive exports and support investment.”

 

15 January 2018

Lombard opens Constituency Office in Kinsale

 

Yesterday morning (Monday) Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, opened his new constituency office in Kinsale.

Senator Lombard welcomes the public to visit his new constituency office

 

“I am very excited about this new venture. I feel it is very important that people in and around Kinsale have access to an Oireachtas member because this community, which is very much the beating heart of Cork tourism, should be well represented in Dublin.

“I will host an official opening early in the New Year, but as of next week my new office, at 71 Lower O’Connell Street, will be open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday.

“If you’re in or around Kinsale please feel free to drop by if you have any queries or concerns that you’d like to discuss with me. Equally you can contact my office by phone or email.”

 

12 December 2017

Lombard declares for Cork South West

 

Senator Tim Lombard has voiced his intention to declare for the Cork South West Fine Gael convention.

Senator Lombard said: “The current precarious political situation has emphasised the need for clarity regarding Fine Gael candidates for the next general election, whether that will be this year, next year, or 2021.

“I have previously indicated but am now declaring my intention to put my name forward to contest the Fine Gael convention for the Dáil Éireann in Cork South West.

“As a former Mayor of Cork County Council, and having served 13 years as a local councillor, I have spent more than a decade working directly with the people of Cork to improve and support the quality of life for our local communities.

“In 2016 I was elected as a member of the 25th Seanad, and have used my time as an Oireachtas member to present to Dublin the concerns of people all the way down here in Cork.

“I feel that my political experience along with my background in farming has provided me with a unique understanding of the core issues that need to be address for West Cork.”

Senator Lombard concluded by stated his belief that his convention candidacy will ensure that Fine Gael can secure two Dáil seats in the impending general election.

 

27 November 2017