North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Study
The North Western – Neagh Bann Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study commenced in the North Western and Neagh Bann districts in April 2012 and will run until the end of 2016.
The North Western district is a cross-border river basin district with approximately 7,400 km2 in Ireland and 4,900 km2 in Northern Ireland. It takes in all of County Donegal, large parts of Fermanagh, Cavan, Derry, Monaghan and Tyrone, significant areas of Leitrim and Longford and a small portion of Sligo. The district is home to less than half a million people and has a low average population density. Less than 2% of the land area is urbanised and many people live in small villages or single dwellings in rural areas. Most or the main urban areas are located at rivers, including Ballybofey, Buncrana, Cavan town, Donegal town, Letterkenny and Lifford. The fertile soils of the Foyle and Erne basins support beef, dairy, sheep and pig farming as well as crop cultivation. Further west the landscape is mountainous, with many coniferous forest plantations and some sheep and cattle grazing. The spectacular coastline, the surfing beaches and the remote beauty spots attract many tourists.
The Neagh Bann district is also a cross-border river basin district with approximately 2,000 km2 in Ireland and 6,000 km2 in Northern Ireland. It takes in all of County Armagh, large parts of Antrim, Lough, Monaghan and Derry, significant areas of Down, Meath and Tyrone and small areas of Cavan and Fermanagh. The district is home to over half a million people. Most of the main urban areas are located alongside rivers including Ardee, Dundalk, Carrickmacross, Castleblaney, Dungannon, Monaghan and Newry. In rural areas many people live in small villages or single dwellings. Agriculture, mainly livestock grazing on pasture land, is the main activity in the district.
Why is the study being carried out?
Floods pose a risk to human life and wellbeing, often cause extensive damage to property and can have negative environmental consequences. The EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) is the driving force behind flood management throughout Europe and requires a catchment-based approach to assessing and managing flood risks. The North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM study has been commissioned in order to meet the requirements of the Floods Directive, as well as to deliver on core components of the 2004 National Flood Policy, in the North Western and Neagh Bann districts.
What are the aims of the study?
The main aims of the North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Study are to:
• assess flood risk, through the identification of flood hazard areas and the associated impacts of flooding;
• identify viable structural and non-structural measures and options for managing the flood risks for localised high-risk areas and within the catchment as a whole;
• prepare a strategic Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP) and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) that sets out the measures and policies that should be pursued to achieve the most cost effective and sustainable management of flood risk;
• ensure that full and thorough public and stakeholder consultation and engagement is achieved.
How will the study aims be achieved?
A preliminary flood risk assessment was completed by 2011 to identify areas that need further assessment to determine their risk of flooding. For these risk areas, flood risk maps and flood hazard maps will be drawn up by mid 2014. Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) will be developed by 2016. FRMPs will include measures in relation to flood prevention, protection and preparedness. Emergency response to flooding, recovery from flooding and incorporating lessons learned will be important elements of the FRMPs. Issues such as climate change, land use practices and future development will also be addressed in the FRMPs. The public will have a right to access the CFRAM programme information and to have their say in the development of FRMPs.