Minister Harris notes report from the C&AG on Flood Risk Management

5 April 16

Simon Harris TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works today (5 April 2016) noted the publication of the C&AG's Special Report.

The Minister said "I consider this report useful in ensuring best practice is followed in relation to flood relief projects.

I expect this report will be discussed by the Dail Public Accounts Committee in due course and I would welcome that.

When I became Minister of State for the OPW, I asked that the Inter Departmental Group on Flooding be reconvened to ensure that a range of policy issues could be considered. Such issues included individual property protection measures, flood insurance, voluntary home relocation and long term flood forecasting.

Prior to my re-convening of the group,  I would like to affirm that the work of the programme was ongoing during this period as it was mainly technical in nature.  It is now meeting on a regular basis and I presented an interim report on progress to Government in January of this year and it will continue to drive a whole of Government approach to the programme and report in mid 2016 in line with the draft flood risk management plans."

The C&AG report also recommends that a detailed project budget, including provision for any VAT payable, should be developed and approved at the appropriate level before significant funds are committed to any project.  It is important to point out that provision is already made within the OPW budgetary process for approved projects and associated budgeted expenditure."

The CFRAM Programme is assessing fluvial and coastal flood risk in Ireland in 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs), 90 of which are coastal. While the CFRAM programme was developed to implement the national Flood Risk Management Policy 2004, the requirements of EU 2007 Flood Directive are closely aligned with national flood policy. Hence the CFRAM programme is meeting the significant majority of Ireland’s requirements under the EU Floods Directive which was transposed by the Statutory Instrument 122 of 2010. The CFRAM Programme, goes further than the EU Floods Directive in that approximately 40,000 maps are being produced, of which approximately 13,000 are required to be reported to the EU.

The Government has continued its commitment to this critical programme by providing a further €430 million in the 2016-2021 Capital Programme for Flood Risk Management.

Capital Investment by the OPW in flood relief measures to date has been guided by verified significant flood risk, and on the basis of robust economic appraisal. The OPW has in place a systematic and objective basis for prioritising the very many demands being made of it to undertake flood relief schemes in different locations throughout the country.

Major schemes have been advanced to deal with the most serious known flood risks in major cities and towns. These schemes have been assessed having regard to the cost and expected benefits of the proposed measures. Environmental factors are also taken into account.

"I have asked my officials to fully consider all of the issues raised in today's report."

ENDS

For further information please contact Colette Davis, OPW Press Officer at 087 947 5552