IFA Flood Project Chairman Padraic Joyce has welcomed the new criteria issued by the Office of Public Works (OPW) for determining whether and to what extent projects will get supported under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.
Padraic Joyce said IFA raised this issue some time ago and had presented detailed proposals at the end of 2016 to the then Minister for OPW, Sean Canney.
Farmers and farmland had been discriminated against in the eligibility-benefit analysis as the calculation to determine whether funding was made available for flood defence works, or measures to alleviate flooding, did not account for the agricultural losses resulting from flooding.
Under the new criteria, the figures for calculating the losses on a per hectare basis have been increased from a flat rate of €400 per hectare to a range from €623 to €1,474 depending on where the land is located and related to the losses associated with flooding.
In the old criteria there was no recognition of farmyards under threat or where they were flooded. Farmyards will now be included in the same way as commercial premises at a rate of up to €30,000 where the farmyard is flooded or up to €10,000 where the farmyard is under threat.
Padraic Joyce acknowledged the work that former Minister for OPW Sean Canney did in his year-long tenure at the OPW and said IFA looks forward to working with the new Minister, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran to ensure effective implementation of the scheme. Local authorities who operate the Minor Works scheme will be using the new criteria from June 1st 2017.
“It is important that minor works projects that have been turned down in the past are now reassessed based on the new criteria. These areas should include areas adjacent to rivers subject to flooding, turloughs, and coastal areas”, Padraic Joyce concluded.