Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran launches a Public Consultation on the draft Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management

19 July 19

Mr. Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, today launched a public consultation on the OPW’s Draft Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management. 

The Minister said, “It is likely that climate change will have significant impacts on flooding and flood risk in Ireland due to rising sea levels, increased rainfall in winter, more heavy rain days and more intense storms. Ireland is well advanced in its preparations to tackle flood risk now and into the future arising from the potential impacts of climate change.  The OPW has completed the most extensive and comprehensive study on flood risk ever undertaken in this country through the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme.  The measures contained in the Flood Risk Management Plans prepared under the CFRAM Programme have been assessed and developed taking account of the impact that climate change would have on future flood risk, and how adaptable a proposed measure might be to cope with the potential impacts of climate change”. 

The Flood Risk Management Plans identify 118 flood relief schemes in addition to the 35 flood relief projects that are already in design and development under the existing capital programme. These schemes will be carried out over the next decade and will address the flood risk to a total of 23,500 properties underpinned by a €1 billion funding investment provided in the National Development Plan 2018 - 2027. These schemes will be designed and constructed to standards which take account of potential future climate change impacts.

The Minister went on to say, “The Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management considers the impacts of climate change on flooding and flood risk, as well as on flood risk management and identifies 21 adaptation actions needed to ensure effective and sustainable management of flood risk into the future.  These adaptation actions will be underscored by a monitoring and review process which will allow for adjustments over time based on improvements in understanding, advances in science and experience of implementation”.

The actions required to adapt flood risk management practice to effectively and efficiently manage flood risk into the future are developed within the scope of an overall, long-term goal and a set of objectives. The goal and objectives are commensurate with the five-year term of the Plan but also outline a long-term strategic vision.

The Minister concluded, “This draft Adaptation Plan has been prepared for the public to consider and respond to during the public consultation phase which is open until 16 August, 2019. Public and stakeholder engagement is a critical component in the development of sustainable long-term strategies for adapting flood risk for climate change. I would encourage the public to participate in the development of this Sectoral Adaptation Plan in preparation of our future strategies and actions to deal with the impacts of climate change on flood risk management”.

 

-ENDS-

 

Notes to Editors:

The purpose of this Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management is to:

  • outline the potential impacts of climate change on flooding and flood risk management in Ireland;
  • identify the objectives for an effective and sustainable approach to adaptation as part of flood risk management for the future;
  • promote a coordinated approach to adaptation;
  • within the flood risk management sector and sustainable flood risk management measures in other sectors;
  • across the policies and actions of other Sectors including Local Authorities; and,
  • recommend any further actions required to meet the objectives for adaptation.

Ireland has suffered from some severe flood events over recent decades, including the winter of 2015-16 when many thousands of properties were flooded, cut-off or at risk from flooding.   Human activities are estimated to have already caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, and global mean sea level has risen about 20 cm since the beginning of the 20th century, and is rising at approximately 3.5 cm per decade at present.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that for a 1.5°C rise in temperature, the global mean sea level could rise by up to approximately 1m by 2100, and projections of more intense Atlantic storms could potentially increase surge events and wave heights.  Met Éireann has predicted that in Ireland the autumns and winters may become wetter, with a possible increase in heavy precipitation events of approximately 20%.

The Draft Plan for Flood Risk Management

The draft Plan is being published for public consultation to ensure that the views of all stakeholders and the public inform the preparation of the final Plan before submission to Government in the Autumn.  The Draft Plan is open for public consultation until 16 August, 2019.  The Draft Plan and guidelines to assist the public in framing their comments/observations/submissions are available at www.opw.ie.

This Plan sets out a long-term goal for adaptation in flood risk management, along with a set of objectives and adaptation actions aimed at achieving those objectives.

The long-term goal adopted by the OPW on climate adaptation for flooding and flood risk management is:

Promoting sustainable communities and supporting our environment through the effective management of the potential impacts of climate change on flooding and flood risk.

To deliver on this goal, the OPW has identified the following adaptation objectives:

 

  • Objective 1: Enhancing our knowledge and understanding of the potential impacts of climate change for flooding and flood risk management through research and assessment; 
  • Objective 2: Adapting flood risk management practice to effectively manage the potential impact of climate change on future flood risk; and
  • Objective 3: Aligning adaptation to the impact of climate change on flood risk and flood risk management across sectors and wider Government policy.