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Ministers to fund up to 248 new posts to expand walking and cycling facilities nationwide

Investment will fund Active Travel Teams in all Local Authorities

The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. have today announced funding for up to 248 new jobs in local authorities to expand walking and cycling facilities all over the country.

The Programme for Government has already committed that €1.8bn will be spent on walking and cycling over the lifetime of the Government, and this initiative will ensure that the expertise will be available to improve infrastructure and increase participation by making facilities safer and more accessible.

As part of the plan developed by the National Transport Authority, up to 218 additional staff will be employed across the local authorities with an additional 30 proposed for Regional Cycling Design Offices. The new staff will be dedicated to delivering and promoting active travel in Ireland and will work across design, communication/community liaison and construction oversight functions. The new staff will support the delivery of almost 1,000 kilometres of improved walking and cycling infrastructure by 2025.

Minister Ryan stated: “Developing high quality walking and cycling facilities will encourage more people to switch to active travel and will contribute to tackling climate change. Really good design is what is needed to connect communities and make walking and cycling attractive, safe and accessible to everyone. I am delighted to confirm that we will fund dedicated resources in all local authorities to deliver on the commitments in the Programme for Government. This is a game-changer in terms of delivering high-quality infrastructure across the country in both rural and urban areas.”

The National Transport Authority has been working with local authorities in recent months to develop a new structure for the delivery of active travel. That work has identified the type and level of resources required across the country to ensure that the increased levels of expenditure planned deliver the right type of infrastructure, in the right place and at the right time. This project will more than quadruple the number of staff working on active travel projects on local authorities.

Minister of State Naughton stated: “Today’s announcement, underpinned by our commitment to spend almost €1million per day on walking and cycling, focuses on resourcing the shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. Local authorities are at the heart of what we want to achieve and we need to ensure they have the right level of resources available to deliver this in every city, town and village across the country.

Vitally, we will use these dedicated resources to implement Government commitments such as the new Safe Routes to School programme. This Programme will ensure that children of all ages and backgrounds can travel to school safely, and in a healthy and active way.”

 Notes for Editors

Minister Ryan has asked the County and City Management Association (CCMA) to co-ordinate among local authorities in relation to the plan as developed by the National Transport Authority.

The National Transport Authority has worked with local authorities in developing a revised delivery structure for active travel infrastructure and promotion. This revised structure will cover all local authorities, both rural and urban, and will be augmented by increased dedicated support through the network of Regional Design Offices across the country.

Details in relation to, and implementation of, the revised structure are being discussed by local authorities under the auspices of the CCMA and recruitment of the additional resources will be a matter for the individual local authorities in line with their normal procedures, with costs proposed to be attributed to the Department of Transport’s sustainable mobility programme. It is expected that up to 218 staff could ultimately be assigned to the new active travel teams across all local authorities with a further 30 additional staff available through the Regional Design Offices.

The Minister has requested that local authorities ensure that as part of the development of these teams that each will include an Active Travel Officer dedicated to behavioural change and promotional activity.

The proposal fulfils a number of important Programme for Government commitments in relation to active travel and will ensure that increased infrastructure investment is overseen by dedicated and adequately resourced local authorities across the country.