Urban Sprawl, Sustainability and Planning

For me, this is an extremely depressing topic, but I thought I’d bring it up here to get peoples reactions and opinions on the subject. It’s a quite long series of articles, I don’t necessarily agree with everything there.

It’s remarkable that people in this country have the gall to attack the USA when we have an absolutely atrocious record in the aspect of car ownership.

I feel that the abandonment of Cork city centre has become particularily pronounced. The most saddening part about it, is that it’s the small independant retailers that are getting hit.

Again, how dare those Yanks not sign up to Kyoto!

Further down, the article goes on to predict the debacle with the motorway going through the Hill of Tara.

No thought, no planning, no concept of sustainability, just horse down the houses willy-nilly. Hop down a few industrial parks and Tescos that are two miles out of town and everything will be grand!

Rural Ireland seen a less likely destination for tourists. Quelle Surprise!

McWilliams said this two years ago when Dick Roche loosened criteria for rural planning applications. The chickens are coming home too roost.

This davy.ie/other/pubarticles/Sprawl2004.pdf report paints another pessimistic picture of Ireland and urban sprawl.

This lad here has a quite in-depth article on the whole debate. Good reading. buckplanning.blogspot.com/2006/1 … g-and.html

No. of cars per 1000 people by country

Italy 539
Germany 508
Austria 495
Switzerland 486
US 478
Ireland 272

When car ownership is examined we are not even at the races when it comes to pollution due to cars, compared with other countries.The actual manufacture of cars uses/wastes huge quantities of energy and results in more pollution and thats before the energy wasted in recycling all these cars is calculated.
Also in the US the average size of car used is way bigger and have bigger engines and practically all are automatics resulting in far worse mpg.
The % of diesel cars used in US is only a fraction of the % used here and as we all know diesels can be anything up to 50% more economical than petrol engines, although the gap is closing.

But having said that I still think we are way over dependent on private transport/cars and far too many workers have to commute long distances to work every day, I think a figure of 300,000 was mentioned. :unamused:

Untrue, 1 litre of unleaded costs 1.44 euros in Britain compared to 1.17 euros in Ireland.
The cost of unleaded in the US is about 50% cheaper than in Ireland.


While that article claims that petrol prices are 50% more in Britain it fails to mention anything about the cost of the car in the first place.

Irish new car prices 27% above European average

This could be regarded as a massive tax on motoring and is probably why car ownership levels in Ireland are so low.

It is massive tax.

20-30% VRT + 21% VAT means you pay up to 57% tax on a car (which carries through to the second hand market in prices)

Then you pay ludicrous annual tax, expecially if you dare to own anything but a small 4 cylinder car (road tax in the UK is about €200 per annum, I pay around €1,000 to run a car large enough to take the entire family.

Basically Irealand is a very high tax country, the affects of which are exacerbated by the very narrow tax base.

A Better Quality Of Life For All
Comments similar to the Guardian article, set out in a document prepared by the Urban Forum – which is made up of the five bodies representing the professionals in the Irish construction industry: Engineers Ireland (IEI); Irish Landscape Institute (ILI); Irish Planning Institute (IPI); Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS)- with recommendations for the government.
Personally, I feel that in 5-10 years we are going to be cursing the current government to hell and damnation, as the infrastructural problems we are facing are near insurmountable.
If politicians weren’t able to influence each individual planning decision, and there were properly funded planning sections in local authorities, the situation mightn’t be quite so dire. (It’d still be a mess though)
Car use is a symptom of the repeated failure to provide quality regoinal planning and infrastructural development.

VRT is a classic irish ‘get those who can’t avoid it’ tax, which allows an artifically low tax in a related area.

Rather than taxing fuel heavily, which logically means those who use a lot of fuel and thus should pay the wider costs of that, they choose to tax the car instead.

And it’s obvious why:- given the size of country and the relative availability of a secondary supply / market for fuel in the north, they arrange things so they get to ‘export’ taxed fuel to the north, thus collecting tax revenue from a wider base. And to make up for the short-fall from the irish, they hit them with a high and difficult to avoid tax on the car itself.

Yep, it’s often even worse than that. There are 3 rates of VRT, depending on engine size, officially 22.5%, 25% and 30%.

But VRT doesn’t act like normal taxes, where the tax amount = net amount * rate. Instead, the ‘rate’ is based on the final selling price, of which VRT must compose the specified percentage.

As such, the ‘real’ rates of VRT are 29%, 33.3%, 42.9%.

So if you take say a 20K car, add VAT and VRT, you’re suddenly looking at a car costing 34,570 or so - equivalent to a single tax of almost 73%.

All too true - Ireland has the ultimate two tier tax system. High rates for taxes on people who can’t avoid them, while low rates to provide an incentive to ‘mobile’ taxes, those taxes which easily cross borders.

Of course it can be avoided, just don’t buy a new car with a big engine!

I run a ten year old car, worth about €4k - it does exactly the same thing as a brand new one would for €70,000 :slight_smile:

I was jsut about to post that! Old cars too have less eletronics and easier to repair. Not being a car expert it jsut strikes me as so. I’ve heard a lot of different problems related to BMW, Mercedes & even Some Renault cars have major design issues.

Toyota or Nissan. They seem to be very reliable. I think a survey in the UK found a particular Honda to be the most reliable, once again another Japanese car.

Anyway back to the topic. VRT, will the EU not put the sqeeze on that soon?

Bicycles should be 0% tax. I’ve been saying it for years. Havent seen a Green propose such a thing. Fecking Greens. I don’t know a laundry that will wash their filty turn coats.

(Recycling’ is ending up in the dump - buckplanning.blogspot.com/2007/0 … -dump.html why the fuck do we pay bins charges and bother recycling if its going into the dump anyway? I could get on my bike and do it for free. Once more the Scumbag Economy strikes again)

Except that it isn’t as efficient on fuel, or as safe to drive. But then again, since VRT often results in less safety features in irish cars than their foreign equivalant models (to keep the irish price reasonable), that’s no surprise.

Good point. Very good point, I never knew that. Such a useless tax is even more insidious if it means its less safe than other EU cars. Thats classic regulatory stupidity. It undermines thesupposed gains of being in the EU. Where do we get off on this rip the piss culture we have here… please make it end!

Very little difference from the current model.

I could change it for a safer, more efficient model without paying VRT - maybe go mad and spend an extra few grand.

I’ve no problem with high VRT. It helps to reduce imports (vehicles and petrol) and encourages people to buy smaller more efficient cars.

Most modern safety features are designed into the vehicle and do not come as optional extras. Can you give an example where safety features are missing from an Irish car compared with foreign equivalent models?

Back windows in commercial vehicles. They leave a blind-spot the size of a bus. What a fucking joke, if you told a Continental they wouldn’t believe you.

Yep, that’s rediculous alright. Not the same issue as above though in relation to private vehicles.

Logically, fuel taxes work better. If the choice is between a high price car which is more economical vs a slightly cheaper gas-guzzler, VRT promotes the latter.

VRT promotes a ‘once you buy it, use it’ mentality - the very opposite of what was wanted.

Over the last decade, the two ‘biggies’ were ABS and side/passenger airbags - both were optional in ireland though standard in most countries.
Non-safety related features cut typically included power steering, AC and the interior quality. Most of those, except AC and the interiors, are almost non-optional these days.

I’m not sure about 2007 models, but I’d still expect that the ‘base’ model of most cars in ireland is somewhat lower in spec (safety or otherwise) than the ‘base’ model in europe (or alternatively, perhaps they now consider the paddies to have so much money that the extra cost doesn’t matter).

My 993cc 1997 Suzuki Swift is extremely reliable - not a single breakdown in 5 years - very cheap to run (€150 tax p.a., €320 insurance p.a., Galway-Derry and back cost me €30 in petrol at the weekend there and in the average week I’d put in about a tenner for motoring about Galway), and is nippy enough - I regularly overtake eejits in 07 2-litre Audis and Mercs doing 45mph on the open road on the Galway-Derry or Galway-Dublin runs. She’ll happily cruise at 120kph on the motorways, not a bother.

More than sufficient for purpose, at a tiny fraction of the price.

What’s the point in spending €70K on a car? Simple vanity?

That is a very widespread fallacy. In fact, Ireland is not a high tax country. Ireland is one of the lowest tax countries in the industrialised world.

If you dont like paying VRT then how about Britain where you would have to pay €2000 per year in council tax for a modest apartment.

Or what about Germany where church tithes deducted from your salary unless you can prove to the state that youre an atheist.

Or how about the USA where people on the legal minimum wage, currently €4.33/hour still have to pay some income tax and if they want healthcare theyll need to pony up $7000 per year for private health insurance.

Ireland has the lowest tax burden now, that its ever had in its history. Enjoy it while it lasts, because when the boom is over and the government is tight for cash, then our taxes are going to start going up.

To me driving around in an 07 $70k car means one of two things.

  1. “Equity Release”
  2. “Property Developer”

Sure they lost 15K as soon as they drove it out of the garage, madness.

So that some idiot in their X5 or Q7 doesn’t flatten your ass. I wouldn’t spend near that much money, less that 1/2 in fact but I wouldn’t drive a micro mini either. I feel much safer in my 2.0 Saloon with air bags all around and side impact protection. The petrol costs kill me though.

Not sure about some of the figures you quoted above - the average US mileage is 16000 miles - 25749.504 kilometers. On someother issues Diesel cars are only available in some states - next year when low sulfer fuel is widely available it will be more widespread