Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme
In April 2017 the Government announced the administrative arrangements for a Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme. This is a voluntary targeted once-off humanitarian scheme for homeowners whose main/family home:
- had flood water enter and damage the home during the major floods from 4 December 2015 to 13 January 2016 such that it was uninhabitable - these dates may be extended in turlough areas,
- is at significant risk of similar damage from flooding again,
- cannot be protected by other possible flood protection or mitigation measures, and
- cannot obtain flood insurance for the home.
Homeowners eligible under the scheme are being considered by the OPW in a two stage process.
STAGE 1- IDENTIFICATION OF PROPERTIES FOR DETAILED ASSESSMENT
The OPW and each of the Local Authorities through their extensive detailed local knowledge to are identifying those homes that flooded during the relevant period of 4 December 2015 and 13 January 2016 to be considered against the eligibility criteria under Stage 1.
It was also open to homeowners that flooded during the relevant period to submit an Expression of Interest to the OPW, before 28 July 2017, to be considered under the scheme. The OPW received 67 Expressions of Interest from people living across 19 different Local Authority Areas by the closing date for Expressions of Interest.
An initial desktop assessment is considering on a phased approach the homes identified by Local Authorities and through Expressions of Interest against the eligibility criteria. This is helping to determine those homeowners to be met for an individual information meeting and possibly brought forward for a more detailed assessment, under Stage 2.
As part of this initial assessment, the Local Authorities have identified some properties that flooded during this flood event that may be protected from a similar flood event by an engineering solution. To allow these possible engineering solutions to be considered fully the OPW has designed a Remedial Works scheme. See detail on this scheme beneath.
Those homeowners that, following completion of the desktop assessment, are to be considered under a more detailed assessment will be contacted by the OPW, or its representatives, for an individual information meeting that will include providing the homeowner with further detailed information on the scheme. These meetings will be arranged on a phases basis, as the initial assessments are being conducted and completed.
STAGE 2- DETAILED ASSESSMENT
Subject to the agreement of the homeowner, Stage 2 will involve a more detailed assessment of those eligible homes from Stage 1. This assessment may involve a property survey and will consider such issues as the depth and duration and frequency of the floodwater in the home, the risk of future flooding, the location and structural integrity of the home as well as any planned or possible flood protection or mitigation measures.
Voluntary Homeowner Relocation will only be offered to those homes, that following detailed assessment, are deemed by the OPW to be unsustainable due to their flood risk and for which there are no other known or possible alternative flood protection or mitigation measures.
Remedial Works Scheme
Remedial Works can be considered by a Local Authority as an engineering solution for a home or homes that flooded during Winter 2015/2016, as a possible and preferrable alternative to relocation. The terms of the Remedial Works scheme are similar to the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme but with some crucial differences, including:
- the works must benefit at least one property that could be eligible for further consideration under the Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme,
- that property must not be due to benefit from a proposed measure in the Flood Risk Management Plans (currently being finalised as part of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme),
- the measure must protect the property from the recurrence of a flood event similar to that of Winter 2015/2016,
- the proposed engineering solution must be more cost beneficial than relocation, and
- the OPW will provide 100% of the funding to the Local Authority for schemes approved under the Remedial Works Scheme.
An application form for the Remedial Works along with Appendix 1, which details the methodology for identifying additional benefits, can be found in the sidebar. Completed applications with accompanying documentation should be returned to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remedial Works can be considered by a Local Authority and the OPW at any Stage of this scheme.
The Frequently Asked Questions in the sidebar provide further information on the process of identification of homes and the eligibility criteria. This FAQ will be updated, as appropriate.
Updated 20 November 2018.