Parliamentary Questions, Public Expenditure

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funds made available for minor flood works and coastal protection have been drawn down by Fingal County Council to tackle coastal erosion at the Burrow, Portrane.

REPLY:  I am well aware of the coastal erosion at Portrane and I visited the area on the 18th October 2018 to view the commencement of the interim works. Local Authorities lead on identifying works to protect the coast in their respective areas and Fingal County Council are continuing to liaise with the OPW regarding a long term solution for the protection of Portrane.

The interim works consist of three lines of “SeaBee” units, filled with stone, which were placed on the beach in November 2018 along a 270-metre stretch.  I am advised by my office that funding of €456,464 has been approved to Fingal County Council under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for the works at this location. In November 2018, €365,171 was drawn down and on the 28th February 2019 Fingal County Council submitted a further request to draw down the remainder of the approved funding.

QUESTION: To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the policy regarding emergency funding for coastal protection for homes at immediate risk due to coastal erosion.

REPLY

Strategic policy responsibility for the coast, including coastal erosion, is a matter for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.  Local Authorities are responsible for the management of the coastline, including response to coastal erosion risk within their administrative areas.

My Office has responsibility for co-ordinating government policy on flood risk management for fluvial flooding and coastal protection, including where that coastal flooding arises from coastal erosion.  In this regard, the OPW is leading a whole of Government response to flooding and is in the process of advancing its 10-year programme of investment in Flood Risk Management Plans which, inter alia,includes feasible solutions for mitigating flood risk for 90 coastal communities.   The OPW also operates the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme.  The purpose of this Scheme is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The Scheme generally applies where a solution can be readily identified and achieved in a short timeframe.

Under the Scheme, applications from Local Authorities are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects.  Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio.

When severe weather causes flooding on a widespread scale, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may activate the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme.  The scheme aims to provide financial support to people who have suffered damage to their home. It is designed to alleviate hardship rather than provide full compensation for damage.