Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Parliamentary Question No. 113 on Thursday, 21st February, 2013

Parliamentary Question No. 113 on Thursday, 21st February, 2013

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the Office of Public Works flood maps in respect of Clifden town County Galway were prepared; whether they were the result of a desktop study or based on flood history analysis; and if he will outline the process under which these maps may be reviewed..

– Seán Kyne TD

REPLY.

The Office of Public Works is currently undertaking a national programme of flood risk assessment and management planning, known as CFRAM Studies (Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment & Management Studies), in line with the European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risk (2007/EC/60) and Irish Law (Statutory Instrument No. 122 of 2010).  Complete background information on these national studies can be found on www.cfram.ie.

In brief, the CFRAM Studies programme has three principal milestones:

·           Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (completed March 2012)

·           Flood Maps (for finalisation 2014)

·           Flood Risk Management Plans (for finalisation 2016)

This national programme of Studies, which is being carried out by several engineering consultancies over six regions, focuses on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (or “AFAs”) around the country.  The designated AFAs were selected following the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) phase which involved public consultation including the public exhibition of consultation documentation in Galway Co. Council (and all other City and County Councils) in Autumn 2011. The PFRA consultation documentation included draft maps based on broadly indicative flood risk information drawn from a desktop study that incorporated flood history analysis.  Due to the nature of these maps, they were accompanied by a guidance statement outlining their limitations for use in decision-making on planning matters and indicating that they may be used for the initial stage of flood risk assessment only to identify areas where further professional assessment would be required if development was being considered within or adjacent to the flood extents shown in the maps.

Arising from the PFRA in 2011/2012, the town of Clifden has been designated as one of 300 areas, nationally, for further analysis. The Clifden area is being studied as part of the Western CFRAM Study and JBA Consultant Engineers have been contracted to carry out this Study.  It is important to emphasise that no flood risk areas within Clifden, or any other AFA, have yet been determined by the Western CFRAM Study, as the flood mapping exercise is not due for completion until early 2014. These draft flood maps will be available for public consultation before finalisation.

I am advised that Galway County Council has engaged a private firm to undertake a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for the entire county.  The Council is aware that the PFRA maps are preliminary and are carrying out on-site investigations in Clifden before determining flood risk zones as part of the Local Area Plan process.

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