Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Flood Prevention Measures
421. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken by the Office of Public Works to ensure greater coordination between all relevant parties, including local authorities, Government agencies, local communities, insurance industry and other community organisations, when working to reduce flood risk and improve flood prevention measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13023/14]
The Office of Public Works (OPW) as the lead agency for flood risk management works closely with a wide range of other agencies and relevant parties to ensure a high level of co-ordination, co-operation and consultation in addressing flood risk nationally.
One significant area of co-operation is in relation to the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme which the OPW is currently undertaking with its technical consultants and in partnership with local and regional authorities and other key stakeholders including Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the ESB and the Environmental Protection Agency. The CFRAM Programme is a strategic approach that recognises the need, in line with international best practice, to move to a more sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to dealing with flooding problems. The Programme involves comprehensive co-ordination and consultation structures such as:
- a high level National CFRAM Steering Group to provide guidance on the overall direction of the CFRAM Programme and comprising representatives from a number of relevant Government Departments and Agencies, as well as from the County and City Manager’s Association;
- a National CFRAM Stakeholder Group with representatives from organisational stakeholders with a national level of interest or coverage to provide a forum to inform such stakeholders of progress and the direction of the Programme and for these stakeholders to provide input to the Programme and;
- at the level of the specific CFRAM projects, Steering Groups and Progress Groups with representatives of the OPW, relevant Regional and Local Authorities, the EPA and, for cross-border (International) River Basin Districts, the Rivers Agency of Northern Ireland.
The CFRAM Programme also involves a significant engagement with communities and the public whereby the draft flood maps produced under the CFRAM will be subject to both informal and formal public consultation processes. A similar level of detailed consultation with the public is involved in the development and implementation of OPW flood defence schemes with such scheme proposals being placed on formal Public Exhibition where the public are given the opportunity to comment on the proposals.
On an ongoing basis, the OPW liaises with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in relation to the protection of wildlife and habitats in the context of flood defence works and with Waterways Ireland and the ESB in relation to water management protocols on the Shannon, Lee and Liffey. The OPW also works closely with Inland Fisheries Ireland on an Environmental River Enhancement Programme and has concluded a Service Level Agreement with that body covering the period 2013 – 2017.
The OPW is working closely with the insurance industry and has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with Insurance Ireland on the format and protocols for the provision of information to the industry on completed OPW major flood defence schemes with a view to improving the availability of flood insurance cover in areas where the OPW, or local authorities with OPW funding, have carried out such schemes.