Eamon Ryan drafts law change that would stop objections to cycle lanes

By Ferghal Blaney

Eamon Ryan has drafted new legislation that would block any future objections to cycle lanes.

The Transport Minister’s proposed change in laws would put a stop to legal challenges to cycleways that have plagued planners trying to get them on roads this year.

A senior source in his department said: “This would be an attempt to bypass the planning regulations by inserting a clause that exempts infrastructure for non-mechanical vehicles from normal planning rules.

“It basically means cycleway plans can avoid scrutiny.”

A source close to the Minister told the Irish Mirror last night the idea is that local authorities would be allowed to trial transport infrastructure projects such as bikelanes or footpaths for a certain period such as six or nine months, during which there would be public consultation.

At the end of the trial, councillors would then vote on whether to keep it or not.

A similar system is used in the UK.

Minister Eamon Ryan speaking outside Government Buildings. (Ciara Phelan)

The Irish Mirror has learned about a number of high-level meetings attended by an Assistant Secretary General and several Principal Officers of the Department of Transport last Wednesday.

And we have seen a copy of the proposed new legislation, provisionally titled: the European Union (Roads Act 1993) (Environmental Impact Assessment and habitats) (Amendment) Regulations 2021.

It would be filed as a Statutory Instrument, which means it can be introduced by the stroke of a minister’s pen and would not have to pass any opposition there might be to it in the Dail.

The Green Party leader, Mr Ryan, is an avid cyclist and his party is very much in favour of massive increases in infrastructure.

But some of the developments have annoyed motorists and residents, as it means less room for traffic on main thoroughfares, and “rat runs” created through housing estates to get around the new lane structures.

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