Ministers Madigan and Ring are delighted to announce the signing of a contract with commercial vehicle distributor Harris Group to supply two electric buses to service Glenveagh National Park in Donegal. The project is co-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Rural And Community Affairs under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.

In late 2019, The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht advertised an Open Procurement Tender Competition for the purchase of electric buses to supply Glenveagh National Park. Harris Group, a Dublin based company, was awarded the contract in March 2020.

Through its National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht manages a network of 6 National Parks and more than 80 nature reserves. This network consist of over 87,000 hectares which run over some of the most iconic and scenic landscapes in Ireland. Conservation of these important habitats and their biodiversity is at the heart of the NPWS so the introduction of low-carbon, climate protection measures, such as electric vehicles, is very much congruent to our remit. Called the STEED (Sustainable Transport Electric Energy Delivered), the vehicles have been optimised to Harris Group specifications by manufacturer Higer, China’s leading bus and coach exporter. The STEED will be the first of its type to enter usage in the Irish transportation network and supports the Government’s aims to reduce emissions. The introduction of these electric buses follows on from the successful introduction of e-charging points for members of the public in Glenveagh National Park in 2018.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., welcomed the signing of this contract: “Under the management of our National Parks and Wildlife Service, Ireland’s National Parks deliver nature conservation and habitat protection to our native species. Our National Parks and Reserves are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful places in the world. Each National Park and nature reserve contains unique habitats, flora and fauna, as well as dramatically different landscapes, offering unique and different visitor experiences. Protecting this environment is key to our long term goals for the National Parks. These world-class electric vehicles will assist in significantly lowering the carbon footprint of our visitor activities in accordance with the Government’s Climate Action Plans and reflects the ethos of protecting the natural environment which is so strongly embodied in our National Parks and Reserves.”

Harris Group CEO Denise Harris commented: “At Harris Group, our commitment to new thinking drives us towards innovative solutions, and we are delighted to work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service as part of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in implementing future-focused transport solutions.”

“The Steed is the latest in a long line of innovations pioneered by the Harris Group and underlines our position as the leading distributor of commercial e-vehicles in Ireland and the UK. We have always kept our focus on the future, and today, against the backdrop of climate change, that means a transition to zero-emissions motoring and green transport technology.”

Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development in Fáilte Ireland added: Fáilte Ireland welcomes the news of the purchase of the first electric buses for Ireland’s National Parks. Sustainability is crucial to protect and preserve our natural environment and the provision of electric buses is a very welcome move to delivering a more sustainable visitor experience at our National Parks.  Fáilte Ireland embraces the VICE model as a key foundation in all developments and this project is an excellent example of sustainable development. We are delighted to be working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in a strategic partnership which is making great strides in further developing quality visitor experiences at Ireland’s National Parks and Nature Reserves”

In conclusion, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D., commented “I am delighted that my department was able to provide funding for this initiative under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund. Glenveagh National Park is a national treasure and is a highly appropriate place for us to invest in zero-emissions transport solutions in furtherance of national social regeneration objectives in rural areas.”

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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