Minister Seán Canney announces further tranche of draft Flood Risk Management Plans for statutory public consultation

13 September 16

Mr. Seán Canney, TD, Minister of State at the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief (OPW) today (13th September) announced details of a further tranche of draft Flood Risk Management Plans for public consultation for the Western River Basin District. This consultation will run for ten weeks until 22nd November, 2016. Consultation is already underway on the draft Plans for the Shannon, South Western, South Eastern, North Western and Neagh Bann River Basin Districts on a rolling basis from 15th July.

The draft Plans and related Environmental Assessments are produced under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CFRAM). The statutory consultation is provided for in the European Communities (Assessment and Management of Flood Risks) Regulations, 2010 (S.I. No. 122 of 2010) as amended, and the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations, 2004 (S.I. No. 435 of 2004).

All details of the public consultation are available on the dedicated consultation website www.opw.ie/FloodPlans Copies of the draft Plans and related Environmental Assessments are also available for viewing at the principal offices of the relevant local authorities in the Western River Basin District area.

In the past, flood risk in Ireland tended to be managed in a reactive manner, i.e. measures to deal with flooding were introduced in response to the occurrence of flooding and such measures were generally structural in nature, for example the construction of walls and embankments to contain flood waters.

The Government's 2004 Flood Risk Policy and the EU Floods Directive in 2007 have changed the focus of dealing with flood risk from being reactive to being proactive.

In 2011, the Government identified 300 areas that are at potentially significant risk from flooding from all flooding sources.  Extensive and detailed engineering modelling has been completed for each of these 300 areas, known as Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs). Ninety of these AFAs are coastal areas.

The OPW and its partners has engaged in extensive informal public consultation on the flood maps and the statutory public consultation on the maps concluded in December 2015. The majority of the maps have now been finalised, although some are still undergoing amendment arising from new relevant information being made available. The final maps are also available to view on the consultation website www.opw.ie/FloodPlans.

This consultation on the draft Plans is the final stage of public consultation under the CFRAM Programme.  The draft Plans for the remaining Eastern River Basin District are due to be available in late September. Notices will appear in the national newspapers as the public consultation for each set of draft Plans is launched.

Speaking today, Minister Canney stated “The on-going public consultation process on the draft Flood Risk Management Plans is a significant milestone in the CFRAM Programme.  It is very important, therefore, that as many people as possible – local communities, businesses and environmental groups engage in this consultation process. The draft Plans are based on Units of Management (hydrometric areas) and have proposed measures at both community level (Areas for Further Assessment) and catchment-wide level”.

Minister Canney continued “Work on mitigating flood risk continues while the CFRAM Programme is being finalised. The Government is providing €430 million for flood risk management measures as part of its overall Capital Investment Plan 2016 – 2021. This substantial increase of over 59% in the level of capital investment provided in the last 5 year programme [2012 – 2016], will allow the OPW to implement flood relief schemes from its current capital programme which are already at an advanced stage of readiness. Already this year the Claregalway Scheme has been commenced, with contractors also on site on schemes in Bandon and Skibbereen. The contract has recently been signed for the Foynes Scheme. Before the end of the year, works are expected to commence on projects at Limerick, Northlands, Co Meath and on the Dunkellin River in County Galway. In 2017, the first phase of works on the largest flood relief scheme ever to be undertaken in the State are expected to commence in Cork City, along with schemes in Blackpool and Clonakilty in County Cork, Templemore, Co Tipperary and Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. 

The Capital Investment Plan will also allow the OPW to continue the design and planning work for flood relief schemes in the pipeline such as for Arklow, Co Wicklow, Raphoe, Co Donegal, the King’s Island phase of the Limerick scheme, the River Poddle, Dublin and Crossmolina, Co Mayo. Work on the development and progression of a scheme for Athlone by Westmeath County Council is also now underway. The estimated future cost of the current programme is in the region of €350 million. In addition and importantly, the enhanced investment programme will enable the OPW, in collaboration with the relevant Local Authorities, to begin the process of preparation and planning for the structural works and schemes that are expected to be recommended under the CFRAM Plans.

In addition, I am chairing an Interdepartmental Committee that is developing for Government the whole of government policies and measures to support the Flood Risk Management Plans, to help individual and communities prepare, plan and protect their lands, properties and communities from flood risk. Some of the policy areas being considered are insurance, planning and development guidelines, community resilience and individual property protection.

I urge everyone to consult the website or call into their local authority offices and give their comments on the draft Plans”.

-Ends-

For further information please contact OPW Press Office at 046 9426517 or opwpressoffice@opw.ie 

Notes to Editors:

The draft Plans and related Environmental Assessments are produced under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CFRAM). The statutory consultation is provided for in the European Communities (Assessment and Management of Flood Risks) Regulations, 2010 (S.I. No. 122 of 2010) as amended, and the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations, 2004 (S.I. No. 435 of 2004).

All details of the public consultation are available on the dedicated consultation website www.opw.ie/FloodPlans Copies of the draft Plans and related Environmental Assessments are also available for viewing at the principal offices of the relevant local authorities in these areas.

The deadline for the public consultation process is 22 November 2016