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Gildernew announces publication of government response to review of flood management policy

23 September, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has announced publication of the Government Response to the Independent Flood Management Policy Review.

The document, entitled 'Living with Rivers and the Sea' sets out a flexible framework for the delivery of Flood Risk Management for the next 10 years.

At the core of this policy is a joined-up government approach to tackle flooding, from rivers, the sea, surface water, urban drainage systems or reservoirs. This framework will specifically target areas at risk from flooding and work with the public through new Flood Risk Management Plans to protect against it. It will address environmental and sustainability concerns in relation to the EU 'Floods Directive' and also the Water Framework Directive.

Outlining the proposals, the minister said:

"The completion of this review is very timely. Last month we experienced some of the most serious flooding to have occurred in the North of Ireland in the last 50 years. I have seen at first hand the heartbreak flooding can cause and sympathise fully with everyone who was affected.

"During extreme weather conditions it is not possible to prevent flooding in all circumstances. However, we can be better prepared for flooding and its consequences. This new framework is designed to reduce the impact of local flooding. It provides a sound foundation for fighting flooding risk over the next decade through improving both our awareness and flood protection measures across the north."

Referring to the partnership approach to the policy review, the minister continued:

"I am thankful to my executive colleagues for their co-operation in our effort to strengthen existing policies. Without the public and stakeholders' input this new policy would not have been possible and I hope they will continue to engage in future consultations as flood risk plans emerge." ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Flood Management Policy Review was commissioned by DARD Rivers Agency which acts as the central local drainage authority and the competent authority for implementation of the EU Floods Directive.

The Government Response "Living with Rivers and the Sea" can be viewed on the Rivers Agency's website at www.riversagencyni.gov.uk

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