THE Office of Public Works (OPW) has expressed its disappointment to learn that the ministerial consent for the Blackpool flood relief scheme has become the subject of a legal challenge.
Lawyers working on behalf of Save Our Bride Otters have lodged a request for a judicial review in an attempt to overturn the decision of Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath to allow the OPW to proceed with the flood relief works.
Chris Moody of Save Our Bride Otters said that the approach taken by the OPW towards the Blackpool flood relief scheme “has been flawed from the start” and that the group has “no choice but to challenge this decision by way of judicial review”.
A spokesperson for the OPW said that the OPW “has been working with a multi-disciplinary team on the development of this scheme for the last eight years”.
“Many potential solutions were considered during the development of the scheme, but the scheme that ultimately emerged best met the full range of scheme criteria and objectives.
“The scheme design has incorporated many significant environmental mitigation and enhancement measures to address environmental concerns, and the environmental impact assessment reports have been subjected to an independent assessment on behalf of the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the consent process.
“The OPW remains satisfied that the confirmed scheme proposal has been the result of a rigorous selection process to ensure that the solution brought forward represents the optimum solution for Blackpool, having fairly weighed up the relative merits of all of the various constraints, opinions, and viewpoints.”
The spokesperson said that the greatest impact of this legal challenge will be felt by homeowners and businesses in the community and that the challenge “can only result in delay to the implementation of this badly needed solution to the nightmare of flooding that has so impacted their lives over the years”.
“Even if unsuccessful, this challenge could result in delays of up to one year in the progression of the scheme. Nearly 300 properties and businesses stand to benefit from the scheme,” said the spokesperson.