Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (71)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

71. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the measures in place funded by the OPW to address flooding and coastal erosion in the south-west areas of County Cork; the projects in this regard; the value of each project; if there are projects with his Department; the value of such projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22375/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government has provided €1 billion for investment in flood risk management measures over the coming decade. The details of this investment were announced by Minister Moran with Mr. Leo Varadkar TD, An Taoiseach on 3rd May 2018, at the launch of the Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs). These Plans are the output from the largest study of flood risk ever undertaken by the State, through the Office of Public Works’ (OPW) Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme.

The FRMPs set out the strategic plan to tackle flood risk, with outline design for schemes. While the specific project costs are not available until the procurement for each scheme is complete, the FRMPs did include some preliminary indicative potential costs and these are available on the OPW website, www.floodinfo.ie.

For schemes which are currently at construction, and following a competitive tendering process for each project, the OPW and Cork County Council are working with project consultants on the following projects: Bandon (estimated cost €28.4m) – currently at construction stage and is due to be substantially complete by July 2019, Skibbereen (estimated cost €34.5m) – currently at construction stage and due to be substantially complete in June 2019, and Clonakilty (estimated cost €24.1m) – currently at construction stage and expected to be completed in 2020.

At this time the OPW and Local Authorities have established Steering Groups to develop additional schemes to detailed design, planning and construction through procurement frameworks that were put in place ahead of the launch in 2018. The OPW and Local Authorities will, as part of the ten- year programme of investment, continue to establish Steering Groups as capacity becomes available, for those other schemes identified by the FRMPs.

In that regard, the Steering Group has been established to develop the Bantry Flood Relief Scheme, which is estimated to cost €6.6m, to detailed design and construction. A further five proposed schemes have been identified by the CFRAM programme; namely Ballingeary, Castletown-Bearhaven, Inchigeelagh, Inishannon and Schull. These are not in the first tranche of projects to be progressed, but the OPW and Cork County Council will work closely to ensure that they will be commenced as soon as possible within the 10 year timeframe for the programme of investment.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has overall responsibility for Government policy on coastal strategy. Local Authorities lead on identifying works to protect the coast in their respective areas.

The primary objective of Government policy on coastal protection is to ensure that, in areas identified as being at greatest risk of damage or loss of economic assets through coastal flooding, Local Authorities identify appropriate and sustainable measures to protect those assets. Where defence measures are economically justified and compatible with all required environmental and other statutory requirements, they can be implemented, subject to the availability of resources.

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.

Further to that, my Office, through the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme, provides a funding mechanism to support works to protect coastal communities, particularly those at risk from flooding. This Scheme provides funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation or coastal protection works or studies, costing less than €0.75 million each, to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. A full list of funding approvals since 2009 under this Scheme is available at:

www.opw.ie/en/flood-risk-management/operations/minorfloodworkscoastalprotectionscheme/.