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For Oral Answer on : 28/11/2023
Question Number(s): 39,56 Question Reference(s): 52309/23, 52318/23
Department: Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


* To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform to outline the decisions, if any, that have been made by the OPW to put in place interim measures in Midleton and in the wider east Cork area to help prevent possible future flood damage, pending the completion of local flood relief schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.


For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 28 November, 2023.

* To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform to outline the OPW’s plans to address flooding issues in Castlemartyr, County Cork; the timescales for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.


For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 28 November, 2023.

REPLY


I saw first-hand, when I visited Midleton, following the flooding caused by storm Babet, the devastation and impact flooding has on homes, businesses, people and entire communities.

The Government has assessed the flood risk for those communities most at risk from significant flood events. The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management or the CFRAM Programme – Ireland’s largest study of flood risk – was completed by the Office of Public Works in 2018. An output of the CFRAM Programme, the Government’s Flood Risk Management Plans provide the evidence for a proactive approach for designing and constructing flood relief schemes for the most at risk communities.

Cork County Council is leading the design of the Midleton Flood Relief Scheme and in 2017 appointed engineering and environmental consultants. Major flood relief schemes involve complex engineering and construction operations that can impact on people’s living, built and natural environment.

The process follows a number of stages from feasibility through design, planning, detailed design and construction. It is important that the work is done correctly and achieves its objectives. Extensive and detailed technical analysis is required to establish the most appropriate solution, technically and environmentally, from a range of possible mitigation options. The solution has also to be adaptable to the increased risk from climate change.

Midleton has proven to be one of the most complex schemes with flooding coming from four sources. The preferred scheme has now been identified with a total project budget of €50m and when complete will provide a robust solution for Midleton and will provide protection to 580 properties.

At this time an assessment of the recent flood event is being undertaken and will both provide further evidence to support the preferred option for a scheme for Midleton, allowing the consent process for this scheme to commence; and this assessment will help identify any interim measures that can be progressed in advance of the scheme. The OPW and local authorities do not have powers to expedite these schemes arising from the damage caused by flooding events and the delivery of all schemes must meet all of the regulatory and planning requirements.
 
Midleton is just one of six major flood relief schemes at design in Cork County and some 100 flood relief schemes that are at design and construction, nationally at this time. Nationally, this is a three fold increase since 2018 and is supported by €1.3bn for flood relief measures through the National Development Plan. It is not possible to progress all 150 flood relief schemes identified by the Flood Risk Management Plans, due to the constraint of the availability of the professional and specialised engineering skills required to design and construct flood relief schemes.
 
While the prioritised approach to delivering schemes means that work is complete or underway to protect some 80% of all at risk properties, nationally, the flood relief projects for Castlemartyr and Youghal are not in the first phase of projects being progressed nationally. However the funding for theses scheme is available.
 
The OPW, working closely with its Local Authority, at all times strives to expedite and progress capital flood relief works with the minimum delay within the resources, including the specialised engineering resources, available to it.

The OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme provides funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation or coastal protection works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. This scheme provides 90% funding to local authorities to manage localised flood risk. It is open to Cork County Council to apply to the OPW for flood mitigation measures in Youghal, Castlemartyr and other towns such as Rathcormac ahead of works to start the design of a major flood relief scheme.