With a proud reputation as a creative, innovative and vibrant city region, Cork continues to go from strength to strength. Consistently capturing the interest and attention of those seeking to be part of a city region that is firmly focused on not only maintaining its standing as a great place to live and do business but also on one that seeks out synergies and is ready to lead and innovate.
Cork’s Changing Future
As Cork grows so does our need to prepare and adapt to meet the needs of its population and not at the expense of the quality of life, culture, and environment. This lends itself to a need to rethink how we travel, how we fuel our travel, how we commute to work and leisure, and to a review of the accessibility and permeability of our City to a variety of transport modes.
As with all things it is best to be ahead of the game and Cork has certainly been moving in the right direction with the ongoing implementation of the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy. It seeks to address proactively the issues which will become more prominent into the future. We have a quality of life and a quality of environment in Cork City that we would find hard to match elsewhere and so this is why we need to look to the future in how the city is developed.
Project Ireland 2040
Project Ireland 2040 recognises Cork as Ireland’s second City region, with Cork set to take 20% of the expected national 1 million population growth. The City and region at large is changing at pace, we have new office spaces under development and in the pipeline. There are exciting housing and apartment developments in process with the mixed-use development of Horgans Quay, within a few minutes walking distance of the City receiving approval recently. Cork will be the fastest growing city in Ireland over the next 20 years with the metropolitan population expected to hit half a million. Over the next three years our city centre will see more than 5,000 extra jobs across a range of sectors.
To facilitate growth, the Government has committed to investing €200m in Cork’s bus services over the next ten years to offset associated traffic congestion, become greener and to ultimately maintain its urban functionality as a growing, thriving City region. The time is now to be seizing these opportunities. Progress in public transported has stalled for long enough.
As a nation, we need to transform into a smarter, more urban and climate friendly country, and why can’t Cork be the leader in this space, to realise the vision of Project Ireland 2040.
Here in Cork Chamber we are acutely aware of the possibilities to build on the Cork region’s reputation as a leader and innovator and on the parallel need to develop sustainably with an eye on the future requirements of a vibrant City region.
Cork Chamber are proud to form part of an Energy Cork project steering group partnering with representatives from Energy Cork, Gas Networks Ireland, Bus Éireann, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and University College Cork, and focused on achieving a shift to a low carbon public transport service for the Cork City public bus fleet.
Ireland’s Greenest Bus Fleet
The project, titled Ireland’s Greenest Bus Fleet, is seeking investment in the purchase of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for the Cork Bus Éireann fleet. CNG has distinct advantages compared to diesel as a fuel due to its lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions factor and lower cost. What’s more, CNG in transport is a gateway fuel for renewable gas, with the infrastructure and fleet required for CNG being fully compatible with using renewable gas and so leading potentially to a carbon neutral bus fleet into the future. Renewable Natural Gas is an indigenous, renewable, sustainable, and carbon neutral source of energy, that can be produced from many organic waste materials and upgraded to a standard which is identical to natural gas.
The Irelands Greenest Bus Steering Group are working proactively to promote this project and gain the buy-in of the National Transport Authority to progress this initiative here in Cork. As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has committed €200m Bus Connects Programme funding to Cork. We need the €200m Bus Connects funding to be made available without delay to facilitate the proactive development of an enhanced public transport network, with the commitment to future public transport investment.
We need to be investing in cleaner fuels now.
Is Cork not the logical location, as Ireland’s fastest growing City region to be growing sustainably, growing greener and leading the way to Ireland achieving a reduction in our national transport emissions.