PEOPLE are entitled to take objections under the current legislation, is the opinion of the OPW Minister for State Patrick O’Donovan in relation to delays to the Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme caused by objections.
Earlier this year, a local activist group Save Our Bride Otters (SOBO) launched a legal challenge against the €20m flood scheme for the Blackpool area, due to concerns for the local ecology including otters.
Almost 300 properties, commercial and domestic, are expected to be protected by the flood scheme however SOBO has criticised the project, in particular, the decision to culvert a 350-metre stretch of the river Bride which the OPW insists represents the best possible engineering and environmental approach.
Speaking about the scheme and the ongoing controversy surrounding it, Mr O’Donovan said: “People are entitled under the current law to take objections, obviously there is a lot of disappointment that the scheme is delayed, from our point of view we have gone through all the engagements with inland fisheries, national parks and wildlife, people have decided they are taking a particular course of action, which they are entitled to do, but from the residents’ point of view, the traders’ point of view, people who are concerned about the future of Blackpool, there is an obvious concern.”
Mr O’Donovan said as an area, there was a high number of older residents who would be considerably affected by a flood risk.
“It’s a very old part of the city with a lot of old residents who are particularly vulnerable.”
From here, the Minister said it is a case of wait and see: “I have to await a decision around that, it is a case of wait and see but ultimately, I’m anxious that a scheme will be developed that will relieve that part of the city. It is heavily at risk from flooding.”