A year after the worst floods in recent memory devastated parts of Drumahoe, Altnagelvin and Eglinton, Derry City and Strabane District Council, has announced it is the first local authority in the North to have adopted a Climate Adaptation Plan.
The plan is part of a European Union-funded project titled Climate which is supported through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.
Mayor, Councillor John Boyle, said it was a positive move towards finding solutions for those worst affected by issues such as flooding.
“Obviously a year on we are all thinking back to the dramatic events of August 22 and some people are still living with the effects of losing homes and livestock to the floods,” he said.
“I am delighted to see DC&SDC being proactive on the issue and seeking to address some of the very real risks which can be presented by extreme weather events.
“Council has already been working on the ground with local communities and our partner agencies, to develop strategies for community resilience.
“While we can’t predict exactly how we will be affected by climate change in the future, we can act to ensure we are prepared for a number of outcomes based on the research and recommendations of the experts who are invested in this international project,” he added.
Cathy Burns, the Council’s lead officer on the project, said: “The fact that we will be working closely with academics and local authorities in Sweden and agencies responsible for climate change action in UK and Ireland, will allow us to benefit from their knowledge and research, and refine our own community resilience plans even further.
“While we are in the initial stages of the project, we hope to further develop these partnerships across the wider North West region, and create a cohesive and effective task force dedicated to protecting our communities, and dealing with the issues of climate change as they arise.”
Foyle SDLP MLA, Mark H. Durkan, meanwhile, said the victims of last year’s floods were still struggling to rebuild their lives.
“It has been one year since people cried out for leadership following the heavy flooding across the North West. “One year on and it feels like Groundhog Day. Many families here are still suffering practically, financially and mentally.
“As local people struggle to rebuild their homes and businesses, they are met with obstacle after obstacle. The flooding brought into stark focus the importance of a running government; more can and should have been done.
“It should serve as a lesson moving forward, to implement preventative measures where possible and make informed planning decisions in areas at risk of flooding, so that the trauma of last year’s victims will not be relived.
“However, credit must be given to the great work of the council and the efforts of all agencies involved.
“I saw first-hand the generosity of people and local businesses.”