Minister McGrath approves the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme
On March 11th 2021, The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Michael McGrath T.D. announced his consent to proceed with the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme in Cork City. The Minister, in pursuance of the powers given to him by Section 7 of the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945, and of all other powers enabling him in that behalf, has confirmed the said scheme on 12 March 2021, subject to conditions as set out and agreed to by the Commissioners for Public Works in Ireland who are the sponsoring agency for the scheme and which will be implemented by them and Cork City Council.
Minister McGrath said "I am delighted that the Blackpool flood relief scheme for the River Bride will now proceed to the next stage of development. The Government is very conscious of the significant damage that flooding events can cause, and I am acutely aware of the impact of the serious flooding events in this area in the past. I would like to acknowledge the campaigning efforts of so many in the local community in Blackpool down the years who have helped to get the project to this point. This is one of many flood relief schemes in the pipeline through the Government’s €1 billion commitment to flood risk management under the current National Development Plan – Project Ireland 2040"
Mr. Patrick O'Donovan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), was pleased to confirm receipt of notification that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Michael McGrath T.D., has formally confirmed the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme.
Welcoming the announcement, Minister O’Donovan, said "This is an important milestone in the provision of the flood relief scheme for Blackpool and I warmly welcome it. I am very familiar with the history of flooding in Cork City, having lived and studied there and seen first-hand the devastation it can cause. I have worked closely with Cork City Council on the many flooding issues in the City since being appointed Minister for the OPW and have visited the areas affected and spoken to locals and business owners who have shared their concerns. I look forward to visiting Blackpool once Level 5 restrictions have been eased and can assure the people of Cork that I will continue to work hard with my officials to ensure this scheme is brought to completion in the shortest possible timeframe.”
The flood relief scheme will be funded from within the allocated €1 billion for flood risk management over the period 2018-2027. Provision for the cost of the scheme is included in the Office of Public Works' multi annual capital allocation.
Approximately 293 properties (206 residential and 87 commercial) will be protected by the scheme, which will provide the standard protection against a flood event with a 1% probability of occurring in any given year (more commonly known as the 1 in 100 year flood) given in all the OPW schemes. The scheme is considered economically viable and is recommended by the OPW for implementation.
Further information relating to the Scheme, including the Environment Impact Assessment Review, is available at https://www.floodinfo.ie/frs/en/blackpool/home/
The procurement and appointment of a contractor will be progressed for this scheme over the coming months once the appropriate documentation is finalised, with an appointment expected to be made in early 2022.
Under the Arterial Drainage Acts, 1945 and amending legislation and regulations, the flood relief scheme requires formal confirmation to proceed from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This is a statutory requirement under the Arterial Drainage Acts. The recent European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Arterial Drainage) Regulations 2019, also requires the Minister to carry out separate and independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed Scheme with a public consultation on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and other related material, separate and in addition to public exhibition of the scheme by the relevant local authority.
Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme is the second scheme consented to by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform since the new rigorous review process of Arterial Drainage Regulations 2019 came into force in late 2019. The additional responsibilities of these regulations aim to provide a high level of protection of the environment and human health.