Greens propose catchment management and sustainable land use planning approach to flood relief.
Flood relief schemes for individual towns may not be effective, will take years to complete and will not deal with future climate trends claim Greens.
Following more flood devastation across the Country the Green Party has said that adopting a catchment management approach to flood alleviation could in the long term provide a more cost effective and ecologically sound alternative to stand alone flood defence schemes in urban centres.
The Green Party claims that with the rich data available from the National flood mapping programme Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM), land use management plans could be developed for each river catchment in the State and begin a process of utlilisng land to attenuate flood waters, build natural revetment barriers and plant broadleaf forestry and willow for coppicing.
‘These recent weather events are a challenge to us all to adapt and mitigate against what will be a very changed climate for Ireland. We must learn lessons from poor land management in the past, and work in closer harmony with natural systems’ said Green Party Environment Spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Noonan.
He said that changed farming practices, land drainage, denudation of our upland and blanket bogs coupled with increased urbanization and construction on flood plains have combined to make it far more difficult for communities to cope with the large volumes of water being dumped in short spaces of time most likely because of climate change.
Cllr Noonan was also critical of the main political parties who are now calling on flood relief schemes to be implemented for affected communities. ‘Had some sense of discipline or a notion of the common good existed among Fianna Fail and Fine Gael on Councils up and down the State then perhaps flooding may not have been as severe. Time and time again they were warned about the impact of zoning land for development on floodplains; from recent revelations on RTE, there is little to suggest that it won’t happen again’ said Cllr Noonan.
‘I spent the past few days visiting affected communities in County Kilkenny and the velocity and sheer volume of water is simply staggering. I commend all emergency services, the Gardaí, Defence Forces, Local Authority staff and the affected communities for the manner in which they have responded to this crisis. However we must now collaboratively design solutions that will build in future resilience to protect farmland, homes and businesses. Using nature to do the work for us could be an important part of that. Also greywater harvesting of water and the use of permeable surfaces in our urban areas must become mandatory in planning’ he said.
‘The Flood Relief Scheme for Kilkenny City stood the test once more on this occasion and in my view has justified itself despite the cost overruns. But we do not have the luxury of time nor the resources to build in heavy engineered projects of this scale in every town in Ireland. That is why we believe adopting ecological measures to manage our river catchments could benefit communities who live and work near vulnerable areas’ concluded Cllr Noonan
Note to Editors: Link to the CFRAM Study.