Raphoe Flood Relief Scheme – Update following Public Exhibition
Public Exhibition Process
The Public Exhibition of the Raphoe (Raphoe Flood Relief Scheme) Certified Drainage Scheme was opened on 12th January 2021 and ran until 6th April 2021 with a final date for receipt of submissions of 20th April 2021.
The Exhibition was advertised ahead of time in print media, on the radio and on social media, encouraging members of the public to attend. A newsletter was also produced which provided an update to the Project and details of the Exhibition. This was delivered to 1,349 No. properties throughout Raphoe.
In accordance with the Arterial Drainage Acts of 1945 and 1995 interference notices were issued prior to the Exhibition to parties affected by the proposed Scheme. Notices were issued to landowners, occupiers, reputed owners and reputed occupiers which described the proposed works on their lands and invited them to make submissions in relation to the Scheme. An Explanatory Note along with the relevant drawings were also issued to the affected parties which provided further detail on the Exhibition.
Due to the ongoing restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the display of the scheme documents in hard copy format was not possible and so the Public Exhibition was held virtually. The scheme consultants created a virtual exhibition which replicated a typical Public Exhibition in which all scheme documents were available to view and download. All scheme documents were also available for download from the Project website. The material included drawings, interference schedules, the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, photomontages of the proposed Scheme and a presentation.
Personnel from the Project Team and the Office of Public Works were available for online meetings to assist the public with queries. RPS held 20 one-to-one meetings using Microsoft Teams or over the phone. The virtual Exhibition remained publicly available until the deadline for submission of observations on 20th April. Over this period a total of 229 people visited the Exhibition.
A feedback form on the virtual Exhibition was available for members of the public to submit their observations. Observations were also accepted via the project email and by post. The deadline for receipt of observations closed on the 6th of April 2021. A number of observations were received after the submission deadline, which have been considered as received during the Exhibition period.
Summary of observations received, and the issues raised
A total of 42 submissions were received regarding the Scheme.
The majority of the observations received were in relation to the impact of the Scheme on agricultural land: concerns that future agricultural use will be limited, concerns that construction will have an impact on field drains or soil compaction and the impact of the Scheme on the development potential of their lands.
The next most raised issue was in relation to health and safety, generally in relation to the open channel, and concerns regarding the construction stage including disruption, programming, details on access and phasing.
A number of observations also raised the issue of the Scheme increasing the flood risk to their properties, concerns over the reinstatement of land, including hedges and walls, requests for further detail on the Scheme, and queries regarding the ongoing maintenance of the scheme.
The remaining observations raised queries regarding the technical design, the level of detail included in the modelling, the visual impact, the downstream impact and the impact on the environment.
The observations received following the Exhibition have been reviewed, where necessary discussed on site with the landowner, and addressed as appropriate or can resolved on site during detail design.
OPW will shortly issue detailed individual responses to all persons who made formal submissions throughout the exhibition process. These observations have resulted in a number of amendments to the Scheme and the exhibition documentation has been updated to reflect these changes. It is proposed to submit the documentation to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Acts in late 2022/early 2023.