Public consultation to determine flood risk

Oonagh Duffy from Jacobs with Deirdre Clinton and Joanna Kowal. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
A public consultation process to determine flood risk centres in the county was held in Edgeworthstown, Abbeyshrule and Ballymahon last week.

A public consultation process to determine flood risk centres in the county was held in Edgeworthstown, Abbeyshrule and Ballymahon last week.

Much of what is likely to happen in the next 10, 100 and 1,000 years has already been highlighted on draft flood maps.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) and Jacobs joined forces in an effort to speak with local people about flooding difficulties in their areas so that the current maps can be updated, if necessary.

The eventual outcome of the process, says the OPW, is to ensure that future planning can continue in a safe and protected way in areas that are not likely to flood.

The maps pinpointed a number of areas in the three towns in Co Longford where flooding within the next 10 years was inevitable. One particular industrial area in Edgeworthstown it seems, holds a high risk of flooding over the next few years. In some cases urban areas were as much at risk as rural areas, however when speaking to the Leader, Clare Butler, OPW pointed out that Co Longford was not an area of particular concern, compared to other towns within the Shannon Basin. The area currently under public consultation stretches from Drumshanbo in Co Leitrim to Tralee in Co Kerry.

“There is an industrial area in Edgeworthstown that is showing potential of flooding but we don’t believe that there is a high risk in this area,” confirmed Ms Butler. “Through this public consultation, we are looking for people to share any relevant information they may have, with us. In terms of the Shannon Basin as a whole, there is a risk of flooding in the future and in areas where there is high risk, a Government scheme will be put in place to assist.”

Once the consultation is concluded and the information gathered, maps will be updated and furnished to the planning department of the relevant local authorities in the area. “Longford Co Council will receive a copy of the maps and it will assist with any future planning decisions that the authority will make,” Ms Butler continued. “We hope that the work done through the flood maps will encourage people - in the future - not to build in flood prone areas. Upon completion of this process, each area will have a flood risk management plan introduced and that will be critical to further development in the area.”

All those attending the public consultation were required to fill out a questionnaire on their personal experience of flooding and it is this information that will provide the much sought after information required at this stage in the process.

It is expected that it will be early next year before the maps are completed and furnished to local authorities.