Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (154, 155)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

154. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if additional funding will be provided to Cavan County Council in 2020 for flood alleviation measures in view of increasing problems with flooding due to heavy rainfall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53869/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

155. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if additional funding will be provided to Monaghan County Council in 2020 for flood alleviation measures in view of increasing problems with flooding due to heavy rainfall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53870/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154 and 155 together.

I am advised that localised flooding is a matter for the local authority in the first instance. However, it is open to local authorities to apply for funding under the Minor Works Scheme which was introduced by my Office on an administrative, non-statutory basis in 2009.

The purpose of the scheme is to provide funding to local authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised fluvial flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The scheme generally applies where a solution can be readily identified and achieved in a short time frame. The works to be funded are carried out under local authority powers and ongoing maintenance of the completed works is the responsibility of the Council.

Under the scheme, applications are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects. Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio and having regard to the availability of funding for flood risk management. Full details of this scheme are available on www.opw.ie

Funding of €500,000 has recently been approved under this scheme for Monaghan County Council to progress important flood alleviation works in Monaghan Town. The works will consist of the construction of a new culvert across the N54 and the R162 in Monaghan Town and additional flood alleviation measures for the Castle Road area which provides access to the town centre public car parks and shopping area.

The OPW also has statutory responsibility for and carries out a programme of Arterial Drainage Maintenance. These maintenance works relate to arterial drainage schemes completed by the OPW under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945, with the primary purpose of improving the drainage of agricultural lands.

The OPW’s annual Arterial Drainage Maintenance Works Programme includes the following river catchments in the Cavan and Monaghan areas: Boyne, Inny, Blackwater and Glyde & Dee.

The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, the largest ever flood risk study carried out in the State, culminated with the launch on 3rd May, 2018 of 29 flood risk management plans which propose 118 new outline flood relief projects on top of the 42 major projects already completed and the 33 major schemes within the existing capital works programme of the Office of Public Works (OPW). All of these projects are to be funded under the Government's 10 year flood risk investment programme of almost €1 billion under the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027 .

As it is not possible to progress all 118 proposed new schemes at once, funding of €257 million for an initial phase of 50 flood relief projects throughout the country was also announced which would be progressed to detailed design and construction, including the five largest schemes identified in the Plans and 31 small or minor projects under €1 million which will be progressed directly by local authorities. Aside from the 5 largest schemes and the 31 small or minor projects, the remaining projects in the initial phase of implementation were selected on the basis of those projects which would provide the greatest benefit in terms of the greatest number of properties protected on a regionally.

A flood relief scheme for Cavan Town has been included in this initial phase of implementation, and Cavan County Council confirmed in May 2019 that the council would act as lead agency on the management and delivery of the proposed flood relief scheme in Cavan Town, valued at €4.44m. A project steering group has been set up comprising of members from Cavan County Council and from OPW administrative engineering and regional divisions. The OPW has also approved funding for Cavan County Council to recruit additional staff to work exclusively on progressing the flood relief scheme in County Cavan and will form part of the steering group once appointed.

OPW has set up frameworks of consultants, which Cavan County Council can also use to progress the design of the project, which will help to speed up the process to construction. Once consultants are appointed to progress the scheme, consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies as well as the public will take place at the appropriate stages to ensure that all parties have the opportunity to input into the development of the scheme.

The next task for the steering group is to initiate the procurement of engineering design consultants and environmental consultants from the framework for such consultants, established by the OPW. It is expected that consultants will be appointed by the end Q1 2020.

While the three proposed schemes in County Monaghan, for Ballybay, Iniskeen and Monaghan town, are not in the first tranche of projects to be progressed, the OPW and Monaghan 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.