Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Flood Risk Management
137. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the catchment and flood risk management plan under CFRAM for County Louth; the progress that has been made to date on the implementation of same; the funding that has been allocated to the scheme to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2147/23]
To deliver the proposed measures set out in the Flood Risk Management Plans for County Louth, Louth County Council, working with the Office of Public Works, has agreed to be the Lead Authority in the delivery of flood relief schemes at Dundalk/Blackrock South, Drogheda, Carlingford/Greenore, Baltray and Ardee, all of which are in the first tranche of projects being progressed. The funding for these schemes has been allocated under the €1.3bn investment in flood relief under the National Development Plan to 2030.
The development of flood relief schemes, overseen by project Steering Groups with representatives meeting monthly from the OPW and Louth County Council, involves five distinct, sequential and related stages. The first stage involve assessing the flood risk and identifying options, followed by planning, detailed design, construction and maintenance. Public consultation forms part of each stage and project websites, available on floodinfo.ie provides updates on each scheme’s progress.
The Dundalk/Blackrock South and Ardee projects are being progressed simultaneously. The tender for Engineering and Environmental Consultancy Services was awarded in 2020 to a joint venture between Binnies (formerly Black and Veatch) and Nicholas O ‘Dwyer. The preliminary project cost estimate for these schemes is €80m and the proposed scheme will protect some 1,880 properties when completed. The scheme option for Dundalk/Blackrock South is expected in Q4 2023 and the scheme option for Ardee by the end of Q3 2023.
In relation to the Drogheda and Baltray schemes, the tender for Engineering and Environmental Consultancy Services was awarded to RPS Consulting Engineers Ltd in September 2021. The preliminary project cost estimate for these schemes is €35m and the proposed scheme will protect some 450 properties when completed. The scheme option is expected by the end of Q2 2024.
Consideration is being given as to how best to progress the Carlingford and Greenore schemes and the OPW will continue to liaise with Louth County Council.
Funding of just over €3.1million has been provided to Louth County Council across these major schemes since 2018.
As well as funding for major flood relief schemes, additional funding of €1.6m has been approved for Louth County Council under the OPW's Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme since 2009.
While the CFRAM process investigated possible structural flood relief measures for both Annagassan and Termonfeckin, economically viable schemes for these communities were not identified, and so a review of the risk in these communities and the likely costs and benefits is to be undertaken. The Office of Public Works has put in place a process for undertaking such Scheme Viability Reviews (SVRs), including those for Annagassan and Termonfeckin. The purpose of the SVRs is to determine whether or not potential schemes should be taken forward to the full Flood Relief Scheme (FRS) project stages. Once the outcome of the SVR is known OPW will discuss the results with Louth County Council.
138. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will outline the delays associated with the ministerial confirmation step for the Crossmolina flood relief scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1722/23]
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is the consenting authority for flood relief schemes which prepared by the Office of Public Works under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995.
EU Directive 2011/92 obligates the consent authority (DPER) to undertake an independent assessment of the Environmental Impact Statement for flood relief schemes prepared by the OPW. EU Directive 2014/52 which harmonises the EIA process and brings about additional appropriate assessment (AA) responsibilities to the consent process for flood relief schemes is aimed at providing a high level of protection of the environment and human health.
Regarding the consent process for the River Deel (Crossmolina) Scheme, an initial round of public consultation was held beginning on the 1st December 2020 and concluding on the 11th January 2021. Following this period of public consultation, my Department sought additional information regarding the scheme from the Office of Public Works.
The OPW provided this information to the Department in July 2021. Having received supplementary information from OPW, it was necessary to hold a further period of consultation. My Department facilitated a second round of public consultation, inclusive of the supplemental information provided by the OPW, which commenced on 6th May 2022 and concluded on 1st July 2022.
Submissions made during the period of public consultation are being reviewed with the assistance of independent environmental consultants and this will inform a recommendation on whether to confirm the scheme. The Department has been advised that this work will be progressed by the consultants in early 2023.