Minister Seán Canney announces commencement of the statutory consultative process for draft Flood Risk Management Plans.

15 July 16

Mr. Seán Canney, TD, Minister of State at the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief (OPW) today (15th July) announced details of the commencement of the public consultation process for Draft Flood Risk Management Plans starting with the Shannon and South Western River Basin Districts. The draft Plans have been produced through the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CFRAM).

The national statutory consultation on the draft Plans, which is provided for in the European Communities (Assessment and Management of Flood Risks) Regulations 2010 (SI No. 122 of 2010), as amended, will commence on Friday 15th July, 2016 on a rolling basis, and for the Shannon and South Western draft Plans will run for ten weeks until 23 September 2016. All details of the public consultation will be available on the dedicated consultation website www.opw.ie/en/floodplans from this Friday 15th July. Copies of the draft Plans and related Environmental Assessments will also be available for viewing at the principal offices of the relevant local authorities in these areas.

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 other areas of the country in the South Eastern and North Western-Neagh Bann River Basin Districts are due to be available in August for public consultation, followed by the Eastern and Western River Basin Districts in 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 “This 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. Before the end of the year, works are expected to commence on projects at Foynes, 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 costs 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 to the work on progressing major flood relief schemes, Minister Canney outlined "a large number of minor flood relief works and studies will continue to be implemented by local authorities with funding from my Office under the latter's Minor Flood Mitigation and Coastal Protection Scheme. Approximately 550 projects have been approved for funding by OPW since the introduction of the Scheme in 2009 providing protection to over 5,000 properties. A significant number of applications have been received in 2016 to date and I would encourage local authorities to check the criteria for this scheme and apply for smaller projects which could offer immediate solutions on a smaller scale."

In conclusion, Minister Canney stated "I am also 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 or if you wish to interview Minister Canney please contact Colette Davis, OPW Press Officer at 087 947 5552 or colette.davis@opw.ie

Notes to Editors:

The draft Flood Risk Management Plans will be made available for public consultation from Friday 15th July, 2016, on a rolling basis. The draft plans for the Shannon and South Western River Basin Districts will be available first, from two of the six Catchment Flood Risk Assessment & Management (CFRAM) study areas. This public consultation will run for ten weeks until Friday 23rd September 2016. Details of the consultation will be available on the dedicated consultation website www.opw.ie/en/floodplans from 15th July. Copies of the draft Plans, related Environmental Assessments and an information leaflet will also be available at the principal offices of each local authority. Observations or comments must be made directly in writing to the Office of Public Works (OPW) or via the email address draftplans@opw.ie