Fermanagh Floats As Belfast 'Protected'

As scores of roads remained underwater north of the border in Co Fermanagh last night with a prediction that it could take weeks for water levels at Lough Erne to get back to normal, there was relief in Belfast.

It was revaled that river drainage at Belfast's Broadway underpass - which flooded badly last summer - is now compliant with recommendations made by an independent investigations body.

The underpass became dangerously waterlogged when a screen at the Clowney Water inlet got blocked in August 2008.

A section of the embankment on the eastern side of the Clowney Water was also breached and washed away during the flooding.

Updating the North's Assembly on action taken since the incident, Stormont Roads Minister Conor Murphy said measures to intercept debris in the upper reaches of the system have been implemented.

"Modifications have also been made to the Clowney Water inlet screen to make it more efficient and easier to clean," he said.

The contractor also raised the banks of the Clowney Water immediately upstream of the Broadway Culvert to provide additional flood protection.

Mr Murphy said all of these additional works have now been completed.

"It is therefore clear that if the flows of 16 August 2008 were to reoccur, with these new measures in place to ensure the screen remained clear, similar flooding should not occur," he said.

The three main recommendations outlined in the independent report, which have now been completed, were raising the banks of the Clowney Water; implementing enhanced procedures to ensure public safety; and assessing the hydraulic efficiency of the drainage system using a physical model of the system.

Rivers Agency has recently reassumed responsibility from the contractor for the Clowney/Blackstaff drainage system including the early warning system at the Clowney inlet.

Minister Murphy said: "I am advised that Rivers Agency in partnership with all responsible authorities as required by the Floods Directive is currently carrying out a Flood Risk Study for Belfast.

"The information obtained from the modelling work will be used to inform the study and help to identify proposals to better assess and manage the overall risk of flooding."


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