‘This can’t happen again’

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Local political representatives have called on the relevant statutory authorities to ensure adequate alleviation measures are put in place to properly protect the communities of Drumahoe, Eglinton and Altnagelvin from major flooding events in the future.

SDLP MLA Mark. H. Durkan, welcoming the publication of a new multi-agency review into the unprecedented flooding in the North West on August 22 and 23, 2017, said measures need to be put in place to make sure the ‘profound impact’ inflicted on people’s homes and businesses by the floods is never repeated.

“I welcome the publication of this report and appreciate the work that has gone into it but people want to see clear outcomes and quick actions that will protect their properties and give them peace of mind,” said Mr. Durkan.

“It must not be forgotten that areas such as Ivy Mead and Eglinton had already been identified in 2014 as being at risk of flooding but essential improvements,which would have reduced the damage and distress caused by August’s flood,but were not carried out.

“Businesses and farmers were unable to get the assistance they required due to the fact that there is no Executive in place. That is hugely frustrating and unfair,” he said.

The Foyle MLA suggested the Department of Finance (DfC) needs to do more to enable flooded property owners avail of the rates expemptions to which they are entitled.

“I would also like to see a review of the Homeowners’ Flood Protection Grant Scheme and some analysis from LPS on how many affected people were able to claim a rebate for rates they paid on their homes and businesses that were rendered uninhabitable by the flooding.’’

Sinn Féin councillor for the Faughan District Electoral Area (DEA), Paul Fleming, said his constituents deserve better and called for 14 recommendations in the report, which are designed to help prevent and alleviate flooding incidents, to be acted upon immediately.

“While any improvement is welcome I am concerned that some of these recommendations could take two years to implement. I am also disappointed that last year’s flooding hasn’t been fully dealt with. Repair work is still ongoing and people have been out of their homes months after the floods. Last year our communities and many homes and businesses were devastated by this flooding. This must not happen again. The recommendations in this report must be implemented urgently.”