O’Neill meets Ministers to discuss flooding plans
A co-ordinated approach to address the likelihood of flooding following the heavy snow has been agreed by Agriculture Michelle O’Neill with Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy and Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
~ Thursday, 28 March 2013
Minister O’Neill today discussed with her Executive colleagues operational plans for the expected thaw over the coming days and weeks.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister O’Neill said: “It is important there is a co-ordinated approach to deal with the possibility of flooding which may follow the heavy snow.
“Rivers Agency, in constant contact with the Met Office, has been preparing all week for the eventuality of flooding. It is in a high state of alert and is monitoring the situation very closely. As well as assessing catchment areas and identifying areas at potential risk using state-of-the-art mapping systems, staff are fully prepared for the mobilisation of resources as necessary. They are currently inspecting rivers and have already set up temporary sandbag stores in areas deemed to be at potential risk. In addition, squads will be carrying out grille runs prior to the holiday period and watercourse levels will be monitored.”
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “Whilst Northern Ireland has faced horrendous snow and gale force conditions over the last week, Roads Service is preparing comprehensively and in close co-operation with the other agencies for the thaw and the possible risk of flooding.
“We are hopeful that the continuing cold temperatures will ensure there is no rapid thaw. Roads Service will ensure its Winter Service resources are made available to deal with roads related flooding should it occur. We will provide sandbags to Councils. We will be checking with Rivers Agency on the river levels and keeping up to date with the weather reports to assess all impacts on the situation.”
Alex Attwood said: "We need to keep making best preparations around the severe weather including any risk of flooding following the thaw. I have extended the Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance until the end of May 2013. This scheme, approved by the Department of Finance and Personnel, provides assistance to householders, who have suffered severe inconvenience, as a result of flooding.
“Having this scheme in place gives assurance to individual householders - if a householder can show that they have suffered severe inconvenience as a result of flooding, they may be eligible to receive a payment of £1,000 and should contact their local council as soon as possible.”
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