DARD Rivers Agency To Run Study To Alleviate Flooding From Shimna River In Newcastle

DARD Rivers Agency has engaged engineering consultants who will conduct a feasibility study to alleviate flooding from the Shimna River in Newcastle.

As part of the study, Down District Council has given permission for site investigation work to be carried out on lands owned by them. The work involves access to the land for a drilling rig which will drill temporary bore-holes at three locations, and the land will be reinstated on completion. (Map below)

[caption id="attachment_52352" align="aligncenter" width="540"]xx DARD is to conduct a study to help lessen the impact of floods in Newcastle.[/caption]

This news has been welcomed by Newcastle Councillor Carmel O’Boyle and Councillor Desmond Patterson.

Cllr O’Boyle said: “Following the very serious flooding event that happened in this part of Newcastle in August 2010, local people have been calling for work to be carried out along both sides of the Shimna River that would defend their homes from future devastation of this nature. On that occasion homes were flooded from Bryansford Avenue right across to the Bryansford Road, with areas that had never been affected in the past, submerged in flood waters.

“Housing developments along both of these stretches were inundated, and the whole experience has left householders very nervous about possible future flooding. So this study is very welcome news indeed, and I understand that the plan is to erect flood defence banks along both sides of the Shimna River to defend the homes and land within the flood plain. It is important that until this Rivers Agency study is completed and the findings made public, no further development should take place anywhere within this highly sensitive area.

“While this will require a moratorium on development within the immediate area of the flood plain study, to my knowledge there is nothing in the pipeline anyway. Until Rivers Agency makes public its plans to protect vulnerable areas that lie within the Shimna River flood plain, it would be inadvisable for development to be contemplated.

“In 1997 I chaired the first group that lobbied for funding from the Rivers Agency following the serious flooding incident along the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle at that time, and the result was the Burren River Flood Alleviation Scheme. So I look forward to a new scheme that will release the Bryansford Road and Bryansford Avenue parts of Newcastle from the threat of flooding from the Shimna River.”

Cllr Desmond Patterson added: “This is a good news story for the people, particularly those who live anywhere along the Bryansford Road and Bryansford Avenue areas of Newcastle. A new flood alleviation scheme that protects these areas will come as a welcome relief to the residents of this part of Newcastle. In the meantime we must let the Rivers Agency get on with their work, and I look forward to reading their report and finding out where we go from there.

“The storms we all experienced on Sunday night are a sharp reminder of how easily flooding can happen in Newcastle. People need to feel that their properties are safe from flooding, so a defence bank on both sides of the Shimna River would offer the protection they need,” he said.