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Cabinet approves plan to give local authorities power to introduce traffic congestion charges

However, Dublin City Council said last October that it has no plans to introduce congestion charges for cars in the city.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARE to be given the power to introduce traffic congestion charges as part of a new strategy approved by Cabinet today. 

The new Government strategy aims to manage and reduce congestion in a bid to improve the transport system. 

However, the approval is unlikely to see congestion charges being implemented by councils in the short-term, with Dublin City Council saying last October that it has no plans to introduce congestion charges for cars entering the city centre. The Council said it did not have legal authority to introduce Low Emissions Zones (LEZs). 

Congestion charges and LEZs are two forms of traffic management that are in place in cities across the world. 

Congestion charges – which are in operation in the cities of London, Singapore, Stockholm and Milan, among many others – involve charging cars a daily rate for entering the city centre, with some cities charging more during peak traffic times or not charging during the weekends.

Certain cities then have an additional LEZ or Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ), which charge the most polluting cars that enter them.


The new Government strategy doesn’t contain a prescriptive series of actions. 

Instead, it provides a range of options – such as road space reallocation, progressive taxation, freight efficiency or behavioural incentives – that can be taken at national, regional and local levels. 

The Government also intends that the strategy will provide guidance for local authorities to develop plans for their areas that suit their own communities’ needs best. 

Following the approval by Government today, a public consultation on the draft strategy will be launched next month and will remain open for three months. 

In a statement today, the Department of Transport said that in the Greater Dublin Area, congestion was estimated to cost the economy €336 million in 2022. 

It said that nationally, congestion is projected to cost €2 billion by 2040. 

“Ireland, like many countries, embraced the car, particularly over the past four decades, as our main way to get around our country,” Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said. 

“But, instead of giving us freedom and saving us time, too many cars on the road has brought about the very opposite effect. Instead of giving us reliability and getting to our destinations quickly, we are wasting hours sitting in traffic,” he said. 

The Minister said the new strategy is a “critical piece in the decarbonising jigsaw for transport”. 

Before the consultation process goes live in April, the draft Strategy and Implementation Plan can be accessed on the Department of Transport’s website.

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