Written answers

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Photo of Gabrielle McFaddenGabrielle McFadden (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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254. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of flood defence proposals for Athlone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46504/15]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The core strategy for addressing the significant flood risks in Athlone and in the Shannon River Basin District generally, is the Office of Public Works' (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. Athlone is one of 66 locations in the Shannon River Basin District and 300 locations nationwide that are being assessed under the Programme the purpose of which is to implement the EU Floods Directive and national flood policy. The Programme, which is being undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW working in partnership with the Local Authorities, involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of flood risk management plans. Under the Shannon CFRAM Study, draft predictive flood maps for Athlone have been produced and were the subject of a Public Consultation Day in Athlone on 17 February 2015. The draft maps will be finalised in early 2016 following the conclusion of the national statutory public consultation process on 23 December, 2015.

A Public Consultation Day was held in Athlone on 17 December 2015 to present and discuss preliminary options to manage the assessed flood risks for the area. An additional Public Consultation Day on the flood risk management options will be held in Athlone during the coming weeks; details of which are being arranged with the local authority and will be published on the Study website www.shannoncframstudy.ie and in the local press.

Following the finalisation of the flood mapping and the identification of preliminary flood risk management options, the final output from this important project will be integrated Flood Risk Management Plans containing specific measures to address in a comprehensive and sustainable way the significant flood risks identified in the Shannon River Basin District.

As I stated during my recent visit to Athlone, it is open to Westmeath County Council, pending the finalisation of the CFRAM Programme, to submit an application to the OPW for funding under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme for any interim flood mitigation measures that may be identified, pending the CFRAM Plans. Under the scheme, applications are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €500,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects. It is also open to Westmeath County Council to carry out flood mitigation works using its own resources.


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