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28 Jan 2022

Delargy: Foyle Road residents can't live behind sandbags over flooding fears

Delargy: Foyle Road residents can't live behind sandbags over flooding fears

Pádraig Delargy: "I am concerned that the Minister has said that the two Drainage Area Plans underway for the Foyle Road area will not be completed by late autumn 2022 and the other by summer 2023."

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Pádraig Delargy, has said residents in Foyle Road cannot continue to live in fear of flooding with sandbags at the ready in their gardens.

He was speaking after the Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, confirmed that two Drainage Area Plans for the Foyle Road are not due to be completed until late autumn 2022 and summer 2023.

Mr Delargy stated that aside from flooding, residents' home insurance premiums could be affected – not to mention the disruption for people driving to the city centre.

While welcoming the measures that the Minister is putting in place, Mr Delargy warned that this situation could not be allowed to go on indefinitely.

He said: “The flooding in the Foyle Road area has been going on for years. My party colleague, Cllr Patricia Logue, has been campaigning for remedial works so that residents do not have to live in fear of their homes being flooded with sandbags at the ready in their gardens. There is also the impact on house insurance and the disruption it causes as this is a main arterial transport route into our city centre.

“I find the situation at Foyle Road intolerable, and residents have rightly been asking questions about what is getting done about it. I wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure seeking answers as to what measures her department is taking to resolve the problems there.

“I am concerned that the Minister has said that the two Drainage Area Plans underway for the Foyle Road area will not be completed by late autumn 2022 and the other by summer 2023.

“She also revealed that she has asked her officials to introduce a ‘Living with Water’ scheme here which looks at drainage and wastewater management with greener integrated solutions implemented alongside hard engineering infrastructure such as bigger pipes and flood defences. But there is no definite timeframe given for this to happen.

“Whilst I welcome that several measures are at least underway at Foyle Road, I believe there needs to be greater urgency to resolve the flooding problems there. This cannot go on indefinitely.”

Mr Delargy had written to the Minister regarding the Foyle Road's issues with flooding.

In response, the Minister wrote back stating: “I have been advised by NI Water that following representation last year about surface water flooding, its Wastewater Networks team carried out inspections of the storm and combined sewers in the Foyle Road area and found them to be operating properly.

“In November 2021 the NI Water storm and combined sewers in the Letterkenny Road area were inspected and found to be operating properly.

“NI Water has advised that there are two Drainage Area Plans which may assist with identifying the overall causes of flooding in the Foyle Road area. One of these is due to be completed by late autumn 2022 and the other by summer 2023. NI Water has advised that it will continue to work with stakeholders to maximise opportunities to manage flood risk.

“My Department’s current policy with regard to the cleaning of road gullies is that we endeavour to clean all road gullies once per year. The gullies in the Foyle Road area were last cleaned on 4th August 2021. It is therefore unlikely that blockages to gullies contributed to the flooding of this area.

“On November 9, 2021, I launched the Living With Water in Belfast Plan, which seeks to revolutionise drainage and wastewater management with greener integrated solutions implemented alongside hard engineering infrastructure such as bigger pipes and flood defences.

“I want to see the Living With Water approach extended to Derry and have therefore asked my officials to commence work to develop a strategic drainage infrastructure plan for Derry, similar to the Belfast plan.”

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