Donegal County Council Logo


Home > Community > Greenways > Greenways and Active Travel > Environment

Environmental Benefits of Active Travel









Active travel can help to reduce congestion, improve air quality and reduce the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. One of the stated objectives of the Greenways Programme is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions entering the atmosphere by over 300 carbon tonnes per annum by 2023. This objective is in line with Ireland’s commitment to achieve a 51% reduction in overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared to 2018 levels.



2020 Climate Statistics and 2030 Target



Road Transport is a significant contributor of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions with private car transport accounting for over half (54%) of road transport emissions. According to the CSO National Travel Survey conducted in 2019, almost 77% of all journeys of all journeys made in the Border region (Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim & Sligo) were by private car.


In 2019, the “Bike Life – Dublin Metropolitan Area” report, published in partnership with Sustrans and the National Transport Authority, completed the largest assessment of cycling in urban areas in Ireland and the UK.


The Bike Life report conducted numerous surveys which found that in the Dublin Metropolitan area, cycling takes up to 60,000 cars off the roads each day, creating a reduction of 28,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. This reduction is equivalent to the carbon footprint of 400,000 people taking flights from Dublin to London Heathrow. With the implementation of sustainable, traffic-free infrastructure further afield, this would encourage more people to take up the bike and would therefore reduce our carbon footprint.


Cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Since delivering modal shift is an important aspect of our funding, it is also interesting to note the cost of congestion in our cities. For a detailed report on the consequences of congestion to Dublin city (something which could easily be applied to Derry~Londonderry or Belfast), go to The Costs of Congestion: an Analysis of the Greater Dublin Area.