by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

‘A green transport revolution is critical to tackling climate change and Northern Ireland (NI) air quality concerns’ – a stakeholder event in Belfast heard today. Translink hosted the gathering as part of Green Transport Week and to mark Clean Air Day (Thursday 16th June).


The event discussed the challenges of improving air quality and tackling climate change. It also explored how greener transport can help drive the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Northern Ireland. Attendees heard that transport is now the second biggest contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions in NI and that by simply switching to public transport today people can reduce their carbon footprint by more than 50%.

It also marked the launch of Translink’s new 2030 Corporate Strategy ‘Better. Connected’, outlining ambitious plans to work with stakeholders to deliver a transport transformation for the benefit of the NI economy, the environment and wider society.

Speaking at the event, Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive, Translink said:

“Climate change, along with poor air quality, remain the biggest threats facing us all, and because of this Translink has ambitious plans to lead a green transport revolution in Northern Ireland. ‘Clean Air Day’ presents a perfect opportunity to join with partners and stakeholders to discuss our joint response to tackling these issues. 

“Our Better. Connected Strategy is an ambitious roadmap, setting out the steps we will take to lead the transformation of transport in Northern Ireland, connecting people and communities. We’ve also set clear targets to deliver 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, achieve Net Zero by 2040 and then going beyond this target to become Climate Positive by 2050.

“We need to change travel behaviours and work together with partners to maximise the potential that greener transport offers our economy, environment and society.

“With the unprecedented cost of living and a return to the office, now is the time for action – to make sustainable choices, switch to renewable technologies and do more with less. That’s why we’re also using today to encourage organisations of all sizes to sign up to our newly launched ‘Sustainable Travel Charter.” said Chris.

Supporting the event, Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd MLA said: “Tackling the climate emergency is the single biggest global challenge we face. Transport solutions have a key role to play in making changes to promote healthy towns and cities; to improve the air we breathe; and to encourage people to make travel choices which reduce carbon emissions.

“My Department has made significant investments in public transport facilities, such as the North West Transport Hub and the work currently underway to build the new Transport Hub in Belfast which will provide capacity for additional rail and bus services as well as encouraging active travel with walking and cycling provision.

“With the support of my Department Translink is leading the way in relation to zero emission public transport vehicles. Funding in the region of £100m was provided for the purchase of 20 hydrogen and 80 battery electric vehicle with associated infrastructure for Belfast and a further 38 battery electric buses for Derry. We also invested £66m for the purchase of 21 additional train carriages for our network which are 20% more fuel efficient. This will play a significant role in providing lower-carbon transport as well as providing additional capacity on the network where it is most needed. My Department is also progressing a number of park and ride sites across the north which, when completed, will provide over 3,000 additional spaces and give more people the chance to use the public transport network.

“Each one of us has the potential to make a difference in the climate emergency. Even just switching some of our journeys each week from the car to either public transport or walking or cycling can help so I would strongly encourage people to consider that. I believe that collectively we can deliver lasting change for our communities.”

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Joining Chris Conway, Group CEO, Translink (centre) at the Clean Air Day event where Translink launched its new 2030 Corporate Strategy ‘Better. Connected are Caroline Bloomfield, Director, Sustrans and Stephen Prendiville, EY Ireland Head of Sustainability.

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