Flood plan discussed in light of final public consultation
OPW representative Gerry Gallagher presented the CFRAM draft flood plan for Wexford at the meeting in light of the final public consultation on the matter last Tuesday.
The National Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme is being undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to meet national policy needs and the requirements of the EU 'Floods' Directive.
Mr Gallagher outlined the purpose of the plan in his own words as 'a roadmap to manage our exposure to flood risk now and in future and mitigate the flood risks of the past'. He said that plans done by catchment area were rolled out at the end of June, with the next stage being the finalisation of the draft. County Wexford has been divided into six units of management: Vartry; Owenavorragh; Slaney and Wexford Harbour; Kilmore Ballyteigue; Barrow and Suir.
Mr Gallagher outlined the prevention measures included in the plan which included flood protection schemes, OPW minor works, and maintenance of arterial drainage schemes and drainage. He also said that preparedness through data collection, indivual property protection, flood forecasting, emergency response plans and individual and community resilience are important.
Following a comprehensive and in-depth presentation, Mr Gallagher took questions from the councillors regarding the plan.
Cllr Ger Carthy asked whether the 2,000 acres occupied by the lake in Our Lady's Island was included in the scheme. Mr Gallagher said that it was not included in the CRFAM, nor was Tacumshane but said that Cllr Carthy can include it in his feedback on the plans.
Insurance was an issue raised by Cllr Jim Moore, who said that the public availability of these plans which separate areas into high and low risk will affect those trying to get insurance.
'The issue of insurance has been raised as the maps are available to everyone. As insurance providers are commercial companies, we have no power to direct them,' said Mr Gallagher. 'On a happier note though, we have had some people who were previously being refused insurance due to flood risk but were granted it after our maps were used by the insurance providers to look into it in more detail.'
Cllr Moore also asked why Rosslare Strand was not included considering the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.
Mr Gallagher said that coastal erosion is part of the OPW work but that it does not come under the plan.
Cllr Oliver Walsh wondered where Blackwater lay in the plan.
'I get the impression that you are willing to sacrifice Blackwater to flooding,' he said, saying that local people are aware of the flooding that occurs there
Mr Gallagher said that the area had not been abandoned, but said it had been decided that it would be more beneficial to take it through the minor works programme.
Cllr Davy Hynes and Cllr Deirdre Wadding raised the issue of climate change, asking whether it had been considered, which Mr Gallagher said it has.
Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy queried why the area near Slaney Meats had not been included.
'We are not pursuing there as it is a commercial interest. It is hard to justify spending state funding in these cases,' said Mr Gallagher.
The councillors can submit feedback until November 21.