Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (311)

Robert Troy

Question:

311. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of flood defence works in Athlone, County Westmeath; if the scheduled works have been carried out in full to date; the works being carried out to ensure residents can avail of adequate home insurance in areas of Athlone in which flood defence works have been carried out; the status of the voluntary homeowners relocation scheme; and the number of home and landowners that have availed of this scheme in the Athlone area to date. [33930/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) and Westmeath County Council (WCC) are working together to advance proposals to deal with the flooding issues in Athlone with WCC as the Contracting Authority and OPW funding the costs of flood relief works for the town in addition to undertaking the construction works.

Engineering consultants were appointed in April 2017, to identify appropriate flood risk alleviation measures for Athlone. The Option Appraisal Report identified eight discrete cells of flood defence works. These flood cells are each being progressed individually under Part 8 or Part 10 of the Planning and Development Regulations with works being undertaken by OPW’s own workforce, as a direct managed scheme. The current status of each flood cell is set out in Table 1, as follows:

Table 1:

Flood Cell

Status

FC1 – Deerpark

Part 8 planning granted September 2018. Preparatory works regarding access roads and safe access into the showgrounds have been completed and works are due to commence next month.

FC2  – The Strand

Part 8 planning granted in May, 2018.  Construction works commenced in Quarter 2 2019 and are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

FC3 – The Quay

Part 8 planning granted September, 2017.  Construction works commenced May, 2018 and are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

FC4  – Brick Island

Part 8 planning granted January, 2018.  Construction works commenced in April 2018 and are expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

FC5 – Marine View

Part 8 planning granted March, 2018.  Detailed design is ongoing and works   are expected to commence soon.

FC6 – Iona Park

Construction is complete. 

FC7 – River Al (Cregan)

Environmental Impact Assessment is currently in hand.

FC8  – Golden Island

Part 8 planning granted September, 2018. Detailed design is being reviewed prior to the commencement of construction works

It is anticipated that the construction works for the Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme will be completed in early 2021.

Upon the Schemes completion, data showing the design, extent and nature of the protection offered by these works will be provided to Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the main insurance companies in Ireland as agreed under the Memorandum of Understanding between the OPW and Insurance Ireland which came into effect on 1st June, 2014.

It is important to note that while the Memorandum requires that insurers take full account of information provided by the OPW on completed flood defence schemes, the provision of insurance cover, the level of premiums charged and the policy terms applied are a matter for individual insurers.

On April 11th 2017, the Government agreed the administrative arrangements for a once-off Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme for those primary residential properties that flooded between 4th December, 2015 and 13th January, 2016. The Government decision confirmed that a homeowner had to meet a number of conditions to be eligible for assistance under this scheme of which 169 were identified.

Following initial assessment which included meetings with individual families, 38 were invited to apply for the scheme. Of the remaining properties, 12 are being protected with engineering solutions funded by the Minor Works Scheme and/or the Remedial Works Scheme funded by the Voluntary Homeowners Relocation Scheme and 28 properties are being considered for an engineering solution including Remedial Works under this scheme. The balance of properties are being or will be protected by major flood defence schemes or in a small number of cases did not engage with the voluntary scheme.

The overall number of homes currently under consideration for the Scheme is relatively low which presents a risk that individual homeowners could be identified by providing data on a County/town level.  For that reason, it is not possible to provide figures at County/town level as requested by the Deputy.