The protection of Shannon Airport from flooding is the responsibility of the airport owners, the Shannon Airport Authority(SAA).
The airport is protected by a range of embankments on its Eastern and Western sides which are owned by the Airport Authority which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of those embankments.
There are other embankments adjacent to the airport which protect Shannon town and these are the responsibility of the Office of Public Works.
The Shannon river basin Flood Risk Management Plan recognises the potential risk of damage to Shannon airport infrastructure in an extreme flood event and indicates that Shannon Airport Authority may wish to consider implementing measures to protect against such risk.
Both the embankments that protect the airport and those that protect the town were not constructed to current engineering standards and do not offer the level of protection required to protect against the 1 in 200 year tidal flood event, which is the accepted standard for coastal defences.
In this context it was agreed by the Shannon Airport Authority and the OPW, working in conjunction with Clare County Council, to commission engineering consultants to procure and manage contractors to undertake a joint topographical survey and geotechnical investigation of both the airport and town embankments with a view to determining the shortcomings in the structural integrity and consequent defensive capacity of the embankments.
The technical survey confirmed that the embankments were not of the required standard to protect the airport or the town against the 1 in 200 year event. The commission also included for the engineering consultants to examine the options for addressing the structural weaknesses in the embankments and to recommend the best solution. This study has been completed and has identified a preferred option which involves, as the primary measure, the raising, widening and armouring of the front and back faces and crest of the airport embankments and the raising, widening and armouring of the crest and back face of the town embankments.
It has been further agreed between Shannon Airport Authority and the OPW, in conjunction with Clare County Council, that the required works to both the airport and town embankments will be brought forward as a single project to be co-funded by both SAA and the OPW relative to their respective responsibilities. It is agreed also that the proposed measures to address the risk of fluvial flooding to Shannon town as set out in the Shannon river basin Flood Risk Management Plan will be incorporated into this joint project also. Clare County Council has agreed to act as the lead authority for the project.
A project steering group has been established with representatives of Shannon Airport Authority, the OPW and Clare County Council. The group's initial task will be to agree a brief for the procurement of engineering and environmental consultants to progress the design of the works and to examine all the required environmental considerations.