I propose to take Questions Nos. 232 to 234, inclusive, together.
The OPW is undertaking this further assessment of Burnfoot to determine, through more localised assessment and including a review of any change in the hydrological circumstances for the town, if a flood relief scheme is viable for the protection of the town. The OPW’s further assessment of Burnfoot is nearing completion. I expect to be in a position to make a decision and an announcement in relation to Burnfoot in the very near future.
The recently announced Flood Risk Management Plans proposed a flood relief scheme for Buncrana-Luddan consisting of a series of sea walls, flood embankments and floodwalls to protect against coastal and fluvial flood events. The flooding which occurred at Elm Park will be considered as part of the development of detailed design of a scheme for Buncranna that will also include further environmental assessment, public consultation and review of costs and benefits.
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 34 Minor Works schemes in Donegal at a cost of €1.5 million. Details of these schemes are on the OPW website, www.opw.ie.
For properties at risk outside of the areas assessed under the CFRAM study there are a range of measures, in addition to the Minor Works Scheme, that are available to help prevent, protect and mitigate their flood risk, including:
- Planning guidelines to prevent building in flood-prone areas,
- Emergency response planning to help prevent and mitigate flood damage during a flood event that will be supported through the development of the National Flood Forecasting Service,
- Voluntary Home Relocation (once-off) Scheme for those worst affected by the floods in 2015.
The Office of Public Works is currently researching options for Government to consider for any possible feasible support to Individual Property Protection in the future.