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Capital of Ireland

Dublin is the capital of Ireland and has a population of 528,000 in the city and 1.1 million people in the metropolitan area. It is located in east-central Ireland and is the historical centre for administration, economy, education and industry. Dublin has more green spaces per square kilometre than any other European capital. The city has a public transport system with tram lines and an extensive network of almost 200 bus routes. Dublin was very active in building new cycling infrastructure in recent years, and in 2012 the city had over 200 kilometres of cycling lanes.

Overall Grade: F 58%

Pie Chart 58
  • Graph Reduction Success Local Emissions
  • Graph Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters
  • Graph Public Procurement Clean Cars
  • Graph Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources
  • Graph Use of Economic Incentives
  • Graph Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split
  • Graph Promotion of Public Transport
  • Graph Promotion of Walking & Cycling
  • Graph Transparency & Communication Policy


Reduction Success Local Emissions

Between 2008 and 2012 the City of Dublin was able to decrease its already low PM10 levels. The traffic station Winetavern Street recorded 7 exceedance days in 2008 and 0 in 2012. The annual mean decreased from 17.5 to 12.6 μg/m3. Interestingly, the background station Rathmines has generally higher numbers of exceedance days than the traffic station. From 2008 to 2012, PM10 exceedance days decreased from 11 to 8, and PM10 annual mean values had only marginal fluctuations around 17 μg/m3.

NO2 concentrations in Dublin are around EU limitations and decreased at the traffic station from 34 in 2008 to 31 in 2012. In the same time period, values at the background station decreased from 23.0 to 21.2 μg/m3.

There are reasonable doubts that the location of monitoring stations does not entirely and accurately reflect air pollution in Dublin. Requests by NGOs to install air quality monitoring at locations where high concentrations have been identified (city centre and inner suburbs) have not been successful.

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

Dublin has no Low Emission Zone, but it does restrict access for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV). Since 2007, HGVs with five or more axles are banned from 7.00am to 7.00pm every day from a designated area in the city centre. A limited permit scheme allows delivery vehicles to enter the city centre on specific routes and only with a valid, paid permit.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

Dublin operates a bus fleet replacement programme. In 2012 and 2013, 160 new buses meeting Euro V emissions standards were purchased, making a total of 950 buses overall. For 2014, the city planned a trial for hybrid buses and Euro VI requirements for new buses. In 2015, Dublin Bus will purchase a further 90 Euro VI buses (replacing Euro II and Euro III vehicles). This will bring the percentage of Euro VI buses to approximately 35%. In general, Dublin Bus aims to replace about 80 buses per year if possible.

No information could be retrieved about detailed emission targets. Moreover, no information could be retrieved about the number and emission categories of municipal vehicles.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

EU regulations were incorporated into national law, but no further information could be retrieved about national, regional or local instruments for decreasing emissions from construction machinery or other non-road mobile machinery.

Use of Economic Incentives

There are five short-term parking zones arranged in circles covering the whole city and varying between €0.60 and €2.90 per hour. Resident’s parking permits cost annually €50or bi-annually €80. There are 30,000 on-street parking spaces and 15,300 off-street parking spaces in Dublin City.

The city of Dublin does not operate an integrated congestion charging scheme. However, in the framework of the access restriction, the limited permit scheme allows delivery vehicles to enter the city centre only upon paid permission. A national Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme offers grants of up to €5,000 for electric or hybrid vehicles purchased before 2015. Further road tax relieves for electric or hybrid vehicles provide a maximum subsidy of €10,000.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

In the framework of the National Transport Strategy 2011-2013 as well as the Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018, Dublin aims to reduce individual car use and promote walking, cycling and public transport. Despite of a variety of measures to reach this aim, the motorisation in Dublin City seems to continue to increase. While in 2006 the number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants was about 320, it was more than 340 in 2011.

The modal split in Dublin in 2009 was composed as follows: The share of people walking was 21%, cycling was 2% and the share of people travelling by public transport was 13%. Individual car use was 65%. Unfortunately, no current or target values could be retrieved about the general modal split. Only information on the modal split in the morning peak in the Greater Dublin Area is available. The Smarter Travel plan also intends to increase the share of public transport from 19% in 2006 to 30% in 2030. In contrast, the share of walking and cycling is planned to increase by only 1% to a total of 25% in 2030. Finally, individual car use is intended to be reduced from 57% to 45% within this time period. The general speed limit in Dublin City is 50 km/h. Most roads within the city comply with this speed limit. Nevertheless, a core area in the city centre has a speed limit of 30 km/h, and there are some roads adjacent to schools where the limit is reduced at peak times. Some roads further out of the city are limited to 60 or 80 km/h.

Promotion of Public Transport

In Dublin City and the Greater Dublin Area, Dublin Bus with its extensive bus network works is the main public transport operator. There are about 80 radial, cross-city and peripheral bus routes and additional night lines. Furthermore, some DART rail and Luas tram lines operate in the city.

To encourage people to travel by bus, Dublin Bus constantly improves their services. Besides continuously replacing or retrofitting the fleet to have more environmentally friendly vehicles, the company offers Wi-Fi on its entire fleet. The Transport Strategy 2011-2030 further suggests several measures to increase the share of public transport. Whereas an introduction of metro lines is planned in the long-term, the extension of the DART network as well as the Luas network is currently underway. A new Luas Cross City line is planned to start operation in 2017. Currently, an evaluation process for developing a public transport infrastructure in North Dublin is being conducted, also revisiting the earlier idea to construct a metro line to Dublin airport.

To foster integrated public transport usage in the Greater Dublin Area, a new ticketing system was introduced in 2012. Using the Leap Card, customers save up to 23% compared to cash payments.

The Minister of Transport plans to privatise 10% of Dublin Bus and Irish Bus routes from 2016, with the purpose of securing a better service at the same cost. The planning for privatisation is currently under a tendering procedure.

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

The cycling network in 2013 consisted of about 170 km in the city centre. In the framework of the Cycle Network Plan, which was published in 2013, the city plans to extend this network to 460 km by 2020 in order to promote cycling. For all of the Greater Dublin Area, the programme plans to extend the existing cycling network from 500 km in 2013 to about 2,800 km. Further objectives are the provision of cycle parking facilities, also at public transport interchange stations, and the expansion of the bike sharing scheme dublinbikes. The scheme started in 2009 with 40 stations and 450 bicycles and the services was extended to 44 stations and 550 bicycles in 2013. A further expansion programme increased the programme to 1,500 bicycles and 100 stations. A long-term plan envisages providing 5,000 bicycles with stations reaching out to suburban regions. For the promotion of walking, the Transport Strategy 2011-2030 and Integrated Implementation Plan 2013-2018 intends to install or improve signage and to reduce traffic speeds in the town centre, residential and school areas.

Transparency & Communication Policy

Dublin City provides a website on air quality with very limited background information and only a general contact possibility. Moreover, annual air quality reports that can be downloaded are relatively basic. A further website by the Council is also very basic and mainly provides links to other websites about air quality.

A national website on air quality by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government gives some background information, but rather focuses on national and EU legislation. Here, a direct contact is available. The website of the Environmental Protection Agency provides detailed information on national air quality, an interactive map and a section for downloading annual reports and bulletins. Websites by national departments or independent agencies were not taken into account for grading.

Website on air quality by the City and by the Council (Engl.):