Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (197, 198)

John Brady

Question:

197. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of coastal protection works at the Murrough in Wicklow town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23568/19]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

198. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of coastal protection works at north beach in Arklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23569/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 198 together.

In relation to coastal protection/erosion generally, it is a matter in the first instance for local authorities to identify and prioritise problems along their coastlines and, if a viable solution is available, they may undertake works using their own resources or, if necessary, apply for funding under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.  

The OPW operates the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, under which applications for funding from local authorities are considered for measures costing up to €750,000 in each instance. Funding for coastal erosion risk management studies may also be applied for under this scheme. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for projects which meet the eligibility criteria including a requirement that the proposed measures are cost beneficial.  

The OPW has published guidelines for coastal erosion risk management measures and funding applications under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, available on the OPW website at https://www.opw.ie.  

The OPW has already provided considerable funding support to Wicklow County Council in relation to protecting the North and South beaches at Arklow and the Murrough, Wicklow town.

Funding of €70,000 was approved in 2010 under the Minor Works scheme for proposed capital works to strengthen the existing revetment structure at Arklow north beach.  Further funding of €42,600 was approved under the Minor Works scheme in 2015 to undertake strengthening work on a coastal embankment at Arklow south beach.

Wicklow County Council also submitted an application for funding under the Minor Works scheme for further proposed works at Arklow north beach originally in 2016 and subsequently with two revised versions of this application in 2017.  The application was for proposed maintenance works to an existing revetment (rock armour structure). The OPW advised the Council that the application could not be approved because the proposal did not meet certain criteria, including the cost benefit criteria, of the scheme.  The Council was also advised that it may be more appropriate for it to seek funding for a detailed coastal erosion and flood risk management study to better understand the coastal processes involved in the wider region and to inform any further applications for funding for works. No further application has been received to date.

In March 2016 the OPW approved funding of €450,000 to Wicklow County Council to carry out emergency coastal protection works at the Murrough in Wicklow town. Works have been completed and all funding has been drawn down.  No further application has been submitted for works at this location.

I visited the areas myself and I am familiar with the issues. The OPW will continue to work constructively with Wicklow County Council on this matter and to provide advice and assistance to the Council as required.