Objections to Blackpool Flood Relief scheme

Objections to Blackpool Flood Relief scheme

Before and after image of the flood defences for Orchard Court in Blackpool. Credit: Ryan Hanley Consulting Engineers; McCarthy, Keville, O'Sullivan.

The River Bride (Blackpool) Drainage Scheme has been in the works since 2015, and the Commissioners of Public Works have submitted the scheme to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for confirmation. 

Mr Moran says he is opposed to the scheme because it includes culverts for roughly 350m of the river. 

"My main point is that in the Orchard Court area, behind the Commons Road and before the church, they are proposing to culvert, or cover over, the river.

"This will close off the amenity to the public and takes away nature.

"There were alternate proposals to this one, the initial approach was to use walls, but this was rejected on aesthetic grounds."

However, Mr Moran says that a walls approach with a better aesthetic should be looked at again, to prevent this stretch of the river being closed off from Blackpool completely. 

He also believes better land management further upstream could prevent the River Bride from overflowing and flooding Blackpool. 

"Blackpool is a part of the city that is prime for regeneration. This won't happen unless it's an attractive place to live. People need more than just concrete.

"Concrete has a price but nature has value. This will affect the area detrimentally.

"Local artist Chris Moody has also done amazing work on social media, portraying the value of the river and showing how the otters and nature depend on it."

Mr Moran says the River Bride in Blackpool is home to otters, trout and eels, and that covering the river will impact these animals. "The OPW said in their own report that their habitat will be affected."

The OPW's Environmental Impact Assessment Report says: "impact on aquatic species and their habitat namely brown trout, lamprey and eel is significant due to the permanent loss of instream habitat as a result of culverting, sediment traps and maintenance regiments.

"Impact on otters is also considered very significant as the culverting of an extensive length of river potentially results in loss of foraging habitat and increased severance between the Bride and the River Lee."

The OPW has outlined mitigation measures to combat the impact the works will have, but the report still concluded that the impact on the otters and the fisheries within the Bride (North) catchment will remain a 'Permanent Significant Negative Impact'. 

Save Cork City have also voiced their objections to the proposed scheme.

Previously, local traders and residents have voiced support for the plans, saying there needs to flood mitigation measures for the village. 

The fate of the scheme now lies in the Minister for Public Expenditure's hands, although with government formation still a long way off, it's unknown who will be ultimately approving or rejecting it.

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