For Written Answer on : 17/01/2024
Question Number(s): 378 Question Reference(s): 56396/23
Department: Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform if the OPW has received a request from Cork County Council for funding to carry out flood prevention measures in Castlemartyr in east Cork; if he will support such plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) acknowledges the devastating impact flooding has for home owners, businesses and communities.
The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management or CFRAM Programme, the largest study of flood risk, was completed by the OPW in 2018. This studied the flood risk for two thirds of the population against their risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. The key output from this study was the Flood Risk Management Plans. These 2018 Plans are providing the evidence for a proactive approach for designing and constructing flood relief schemes for the most at risk communities.
It is not possible to progress all 150 flood relief schemes identified by the Flood Risk Management Plans simultaneously, 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 project for Castlemartyr is not in the first tranche of projects being progressed nationally. However the funding for this scheme is available.
The OPW is currently trialling a new delivery model towards a more efficient means of delivering all 50 schemes in the second tranche of schemes. Once consultants are appointed to progress this scheme, consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies, as well as the general public, will take place at the appropriate stages to ensure that all parties have the opportunity to input into the development of the scheme.
Local Authorities are responsible for investigating and addressing localised flooding issues in their area. Where necessary, Local Authorities may put forward proposals to relevant central Government Departments, including the OPW, for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.
Under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, applications by local authorities for localised flood mitigation measures are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects. Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio and having regard to the availability of funding for flood risk management. Full details of this scheme are available on https://www.floodinfo.ie/minor-works/.
In July 2018, Cork County Council submitted an application under this scheme for river cleaning works upstream and downstream of Castlemartyr bridge. However, the OPW indicated that the application would not be successful for funding at that time as the works would compromise the major flood relief scheme. Cork County Council has confirmed that it is reviewing its original application, in light of the recent devastating flooding from Storm Babet, and I understand the Council intends to submit an updated application to the OPW for Castlemartyr Village. This application once received will be considered by the OPW and discussed with Cork County Council in relation to the linkages of any proposed minor works with a flood relief scheme for the town.