I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 to 219, inclusive, together.
On Tuesday 22 August 2017 an extreme pluvial rainfall event occurred in Donegal. Having visited the area the following day I saw at first hand the extensive damage and disruption caused by this flood event, particularly to the community in the Inishowen Peninsula area.
A national study to assess and propose measures to manage Ireland’s flood risk is being undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) through its Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The CFRAM Programme is focussing on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) including 90 coastal areas, mainly in urban locations nationwide, designated in 2012 as being at potentially significant risk of flooding. The flood risk for each of these areas has been assessed, through detailed engineering techniques to assess their risk and impact from flooding. This risk and the proposed feasible measures, both structural and non-structural, identified to manage that risk are outlined in the Flood Risk Management Plans.
Carndonagh, Clonmany and Buncrana-Luddan are three communities that have been studied as part of the North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Programme.
In relation to Carndonagh, the Plans propose measures consisting of using storage areas along with a series of embankments and walls along the Donagh River. Improved channel conveyance would protect properties impacted by flooding from the Carndonagh watercourse and hard defences would protect properties impacted by flooding from the Glennagannon River. Proposed plans for Buncrana – Luddan consists of a series of sea walls, flood embankments and floodwalls to protect against coastal and fluvial flood events.
While the houses in question in Elm Park are in the Buncrana and Luddan AFA, the current proposed measures does not protect these houses. However, when a scheme for Buncrana and Luddan is progressed to detailed design, the August 2017 flood events will inform the extent of the measures to be implemented to mitigate flood risk in the area.
Flood Relief Schemes will be subject to project-level development and assessment. Future development and the detailed design for the schemes will take account of recent flood events.
As the flood risk in Clonmany was assessed as relatively low no structural flood relief schemes are proposed, at this time. The Plans set out those non-structural measures in place or proposed that can benefit all at risk communities and properties, including emergency response, national flood forecasting, individual property protection and community resilience.
Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. Donegal County Council may carry out flood mitigation works using its own resources. The Council may also apply to the Office of Public Works for funding of flood mitigation works under this Office's Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. The purpose of this scheme, introduced in 2009, is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The OPW has approved 32 Minor Works schemes in Donegal at a cost of €1.2m. Details of these schemes are on the OPW website, www.opw.ie.
In summer 2017, the OPW finalised all Plans and each Plan was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) for an independent review of the environmental assessments. Having now received the outcomes of the independent review of the environmental assessments for the Flood Risk Management Plans, the Commissioners of Public Works will in the coming weeks submit the Flood Risk Management Plans to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for approval.