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Saturday 10 December 2016

Flood defences 'must be extended' as risk to south inner city grows

New flood defence wall at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay
New flood defence wall at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay

Major new flood defences being built along a section of the Liffey need to be extended to combat rising sea levels, the project's chief engineer has warned.

The delayed €5m South Campshire Flood Protection Project between Butt Bridge and Sir John Rogerson's Quay, on the southside of the river, is 75pc complete.

Combat

It is designed to prevent what an official 2011 report for Dublin City Council said could be a "significant tidal flood event" covering 32 hectares of Dublin's south inner city where there could be a "significant risk for loss of life".

However, the capital will need further flood protection due to rising sea levels, according to the project's engineer-in-charge Gerard O'Connell, of the city council's Regional Projects and Flood Advisory Office.

"The South Campshires Project will have to be extended east along Sir John Rogerson's Quay and on the North Campshires in the medium future to combat anticipated sea level rise," said Mr O'Connell. "Costs are not available as yet for this."

He added that "the current project is around 75pc complete, but the gaps can be plugged by sandbags in a large tidal event".

Mr O'Connell said he is not aware of any large section of the Liffey's quay walls being heightened in the last 50 years, and possibly much longer.

This suggests it is possibly the first major flood defence project along the banks since the quay walls were built during British rule.

A new report from the Envir- onmental Protection Agency (EPA) has further highlighted the urgent need to better safeguard Dublin and other cities and towns from the effects of climate change, stating that Ireland is particularly vulnerable.

Melting

The EPA report said rising temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions and the melting of glaciers had caused the sea level to rise around Ireland by almost 7cm since 1993.

The city council and the Office of Public Works applied to An Bord Pleanala for planning approval in 2011 to start the new flood wall project in the capital after it became clear how vulnerable the city was to flooding during high tides along sections of the quays.

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