Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Flood Risk Management
I am advised that the Flood Risk Management Plans launched in May 2018 included a recommendation to progress the design, planning and construction of a flood relief scheme for Bantry. A Steering Group, comprising of representatives from the Office of Public Works and Cork County Council, is in place to progress this Flood Relief Scheme that will protect some 198 properties.
In February 2022, J.B. Barry and Partners Ltd in a joint venture with JBA Consulting Ltd were appointed by Cork County Council as engineering and environmental consultants to carry out the design of a viable scheme for the town. The scheme development and design is progressing with environmental surveys continuing in the area. Topographical surveys (including river and threshold surveys) were undertaken in 2022. The hydrological modelling is largely complete and hydraulic modelling has commenced. Monitoring equipment including an additional rain gauge and river level gauge were installed in December 2022 and January 2023 respectively. The Site Investigation Contractor has now been appointed and work is commencing this week. The Contract also includes site investigation works related to the Bantry Mill Culvert Upgrade Project.
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. A project website is available at ‘www.bantryfrs.ie’. A number of Public Participation Days (PPD) will be held throughout the delivery stages of the project. The initial PPD was held in May 2022. A second PPD is scheduled to take place in Q3 2023 when the public can provide feedback on the flood relief options, which will be presented by the project team.
In tandem with progressing this scheme, Cork County Council are to progress the repair and re-construction of a culvert on Main Street, Bantry, Bantry Mill Culvert Upgrade Project. An application for a Section 50 has been submitted to the OPW for approval. Cork County Council is currently addressing some queries and once approval for the Section 50 is granted a tender for Consultancy Services for the detailed design and construction of the culvert will be advertised. The culvert has been identified as a significant element contributing to flooding on Main Street, New Street and north and south of Wolfe Tone Square in recent months. The OPW and Cork County Council are liaising on the integration of these works with the flood relief scheme for the town.
Under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme my office approved a total of €183,917 in funding to Cork County Council for interim works to mitigate flooding in Bantry. The installation of non-return valves on gullies and the storm pipe non-return valves have been completed. There has also been sandbags purchased for deployment in case of forecasted extreme weather events.
Separately, Cork County Council is working on developing an Individual Property Protection Scheme for Bantry. Expressions of interest for the scheme were requested, with positive responses received. Surveys of the properties which would benefit from Individual Property Protection are ongoing. These surveys need to be completed before issuing agreements for signing to all interested property owners. Once this has been completed an application for further funding under the OPW's Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme scheme can be applied for.