Waterford councillors blast 'bleak week' for Government climate plans
The Green Party in Waterford has branded the last seven days as a ‘bleak week’ for the Government’s ambitions to tackle climate change after two of their flagship goals of the Climate Action Plan ran into funding barriers.
"On Wednesday last, news broke that the had SEAI informed applicants that it was suspending funding for its deep retrofit scheme as well as consideration of applications for funding previously received. Then, on Thursday, a government spending review revealed that funding to incentivise the purchase of Electric Vehicles under Project Ireland 2040 looks set to run out as soon as 2021," Green Party councillor, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, explained.
He believes that this points both to "a lack of joined-up thinking and to a lack of urgency on the part of the Government."
"The collapse in funding for the deep retrofitting scheme is a slap in the face for those who are making the effort to improve the energy rating of their homes," Cllr Ó Cathasaigh said.
"People have already invested in applying for the scheme and now are being told the money has run out. Coming months after the Government launched its Climate Action Plan, it makes a mockery of any attempts by Minister Richard Bruton to take climate change seriously."
“It can’t be the case that these homeowners, who moved ahead with renovations in good faith, are left in the lurch. The Government must now sit down with the SEAI and ensure funding is made available. Seventeen firms were approved to deliver projects under the Deep Retrofit Pilot programme."
"This is a bleak time for them and their staff. I am asking that any homeowners in Waterford who have been affected to make contact so that I can make sure their cause is represented."
Meanwhile, Cllr. Jody Power has taken aim at the Government’s target of putting 1 million Electric Vehicles on the road by 2030.
“We can see from the Government’s own spending review this week that the implications of this goal just haven’t been thought through. The pot of money set aside under Project Ireland 2040 is set to run dry in less than two years time, and the report itself raises questions about whether the incentives offered represent value for money in terms of return on investment in tackling climate change," Cllr Power said.
“Incentivising new car sales benefits the more well off in our society. We’d prefer to see that investment going towards improving our public transport, both in our cities and in our rural areas, as well as upgrading and expanding our pedestrian and cycle infrastructure. These are investments that benefit people all across our society, not just the more well off."