Minister Brian Hayes announces appointment of Consulting Engineers for Major Study of Flooding in North West/Neagh Bann River Basin District Catchment

Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), announced that RPS Consulting Engineers have been appointed for a major study in the North-West/Neagh Bann River Basin District (RBD) catchment.

Minister Hayes said: “the study, the North-West/Neagh Bann Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) study, will identify and examine in detail the causes of flooding throughout the catchment and produce an integrated plan of specific measures to address the significant flood risk factors in a proactive and comprehensive way.”

The North-West/Neagh Bann RBD is made up of two River Basin District (RBD) areas, the North West RBD and the Neagh Bann RBD, both of which are cross-border districts, also known as International River Basin Districts (IRBDs). The Study Area covers a total of 9,400 km², which lies in the Republic of Ireland.

An additional 10,900 km² lies within the two IRBDs within Northern Ireland, but this area (i.e. territory outside of the Republic of Ireland) is excluded from the Study area. The Rivers Agency of Northern Ireland will conduct the study within Northern Ireland. OPW and the Rivers Agency co-operate on an ongoing basis with regard to the catchment-based studies.

The study area includes:

  • all of County Donegal, large parts of Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Meath, Leitrim and Longford, and a small portion of Sligo.
  • many rivers with the Castletow, Fane, Dee and Glyde all draining into Dundalk Bay (NB) and the Erne, Foyle and smaller rivers, such as the River Swilly, draining upland catchment areas to the north West (NW). The Study Area incorporates areas around Ireland’s coast as well as coastal waters up to one mile from the coastline.
  • is home to approximately 300,000 people and has a low average population density. Most of the main urban areas are located beside rivers: Ballybofey, Cavan, Donegal Town, Letterkenny, and Lifford (NW) and Ardee, Dundalk, Carrickmacross, Castleblaney, Dungannon, Monaghan and Newry (NB).

The commissioning of RPS is the sixth such commission awarded to carry out catchment studies under the CFRAM Programme. This final commission follows the appointment of consultants to undertake studies of the Shannon, Eastern, South-Eastern, Western and South-Western RBDs.

Minister Hayes continued: “the study will examine all options to reduce flood risk, including both structural and non-structural measures and will also consider related environmental issues. Structural measures that will be considered may involve the construction of flood defences or increasing conveyance capacity where appropriate, while the range of non-structural options that will be explored will include measures such as the introduction of flood warning systems. There will be full consultation with individuals and organisations that have an interest, ranging from property owners, recreational users, the farming community and environmental stakeholders.”

“I would urge all interested parties to contribute to the consultation process in order to ensure that the plan of measures that the study will produce will best represent their view of how flooding in the region should be addressed into the future”, the Minister stated.

The Minister concluded: “Pending the completion of the study, the OPW will continue to work with the Local Authorities involved, to identify and implement interim small-scale flood mitigation works through the Minor Works Scheme in areas at risk from flooding.”

This CFRAM study is part of a programme being undertaken by the OPW, in line with current national flood policy and the EU Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risk, which requires that such studies be completed for each catchment by the end of 2015.

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