Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW ), Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran was joined by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Athlone last Thursday to launch a 10-year, €1bn programme of investment in flood relief measures.
At the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Minister Moran announced that 118 new flood relief schemes are schedules for the coming decade, with a first tranche of €257m in funding now allocated to progress 50 new schemes to design and construction stages.
Minister Moran said: “This Government has provided €1 billion for investment in flood risk management measures over the coming decade. The Flood Risk Management Plans published today allow the Government to build on significant investment on flood defence schemes since 1995, which has delivered 42 major flood relief schemes around the country.
“These schemes successfully provide protection to 9,500 properties and the economic benefit to the State in damage and losses avoided are estimated at €1.9bn. There are currently also nine major schemes under construction and a further 24 at design/development, which together will provide protection to a further 12,000 properties.”
Through the Office of Public Works’ (OPW ) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM ) Programme, detailed engineering analysis, assessment and extensive public consultation has been undertaken for those 300 identified communities, including 90 coastal areas, that in 2012 were, at that time, considered most likely to be impacted by future flooding.
While the programme assessed flood risk in all our large urban areas, approximately one quarter of communities assessed had populations of less than 500 people and half had less than 2,000 people.
Minister Moran continued: “Progressing these initial 50 new flood relief schemes, together with those 75 schemes already complete and underway, will protect 80 per cent of the 34,500 properties assessed at having a one per cent chance of experiencing a significant flood event in any year (1 in 100 year flood event ).
“Evidence from the CFRAM Programme has pointed to the feasibility for Government to invest in a total of 118 flood relief schemes over the coming decade, which will provide protection to 95 per cent of those properties assessed to be at significant flood risk. While work on all of these has started through the CFRAM Programme, progressing 50 of these schemes from today to detailed design is being expedited by procurement frameworks that have been put in place and, overall, means we are tackling the greatest risk nationally.”
As part of last week’s announcement, Minister Moran is making €14 million available to 19 local authorities to lead on the delivery of 31 of these schemes, each estimated to cost less than €1m.
Minister Moran also launched a new website, www.floodinfo.ie, where people can view the community risk and measures in place, underway and now proposed to tackle flood risk in these 300 areas, and nationally. This map and plan viewer website is another important resource, to support planning, emergency response planning, and to empower people and communities to plan and respond to flood risk.
Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Flooding can have a devastating impact on families, communities and businesses. If your home or business is badly damaged or destroyed by flooding, the emotional and financial impact is immense. It also has a huge cost to the economy. For all of these reasons, the Government will spend €1 billion on flood relief and prevention over the next decade under Project Ireland 2040, our national development plan.
“Today we are announcing 118 new flood relief schemes, of which 50 will be advanced in the initial phase to detailed design and construction with investment of more than €250 million. I want to pay tribute to the OPW, local authorities, communities and all those organisations who worked together to develop these Flood Risk Management Plans.
“They are a testament to how this Government takes informed decisions on investment for major capital projects - by targeting investment against a strong evidence base. The Government is committed to the delivery of these Plans for the benefit of businesses and communities nationwide.”