Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Flood Relief Schemes
315. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will ensure an increase in funding to Cavan County Council in 2021 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. [44415/20]
316. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will ensure an increase in funding to Monaghan County Council in 2021 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. [44416/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 315 and 316 together.
Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. All Local Authorities, including Cavan County Council and Monaghan County Council, may carry out flood mitigation works, using either their own resources, or by applying for funding under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection 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.gov.ie/opw
To date, over 550 Minor Works projects have been completed to the end of 2019, providing local flooding solutions to over 6,800 properties with expenditure amounting to over €51m since the scheme began in 2009. From the latest annual data, in 2019, €4.75m was approved for 49 projects with €4.4m drawn down by local authorities to end of 2019.
The OPW has recently approved funding of €75,600 to Cavan County Council for projects at Aghadreenagh Redhills, Ballyhaise Pitch, Ballyhaise Cavan Rd, Drumliffe Ballyhaise Knockateery Cloverhill and Mullinavaranogue. An application submitted by Monaghan County Council for a project at Drumfalra, Ballybay is currently being considered under the scheme.
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 and 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 3rdMay, 2018 of 29 flood risk management plans which propose 119 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), at that time. All of these projects are to be funded from €1 billion for flood relief measures under the National Development Plan 2018 – 2027.
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. A steering group, comprising of representatives from the Office of Public Works and Cavan County Council, is now in place to progress the scheme to protect 110 properties. Cavan County Council, in partnership with the OPW, is currently finalising tender documentation for the procurement of Engineering Consultants to progress the development of this scheme and the tender is due to be advertised very shortly to the OPW Framework of Consultants.
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.