Burying 350 metres or River Bride under culvert is not the best solution to #Blackpool floods – says #CorkCity opposition group

5 April 2021
By Mary Bermingham

Blackpool, just North of Cork City Centre, has had serious floods, but a local group says the culverts are not the answer

Opposition continues to OPW plan to culvert one of the few remaining open-air tributaries of the River Lee, near Cork City

In May 2019 Ireland declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency. Save Our Bride Otters are urging the OPW to “take this to heart, and to start treating our biodiversity with the respect and nurture needed to restore our balance with nature, instead of burying valuable habitats under concrete”.

A statement from the Save Our Bride Otters group says the OPW’s plan to bury a 350m stretch of the River Bride in Blackpool under a concrete culvert, along with other concrete channelling and screening further upstream, “is surely in direct conflict with our declaration of a Biodiversity Emergency, but it seems that two years on from that declaration the OPW are still proposing solutions to prevent flooding which don’t take biodiversity seriously. They have started to look at using upstream storage of water to prevent flooding in Clonakilty and Save Our Bride Otters argue that Blackpool and the River Bride are also ideal locations for this highly effective, and relatively cheap, form of flood prevention, which is based on preserving and enhancing biodiversity, rather than burying it under concrete”.

John MacCarthy, an engineer who is working with Save Our Bride Otters, says: “The OPW have assessed and confirmed the viability of an alternative flood relief plan comprising upstream flood storage, a solution the OPW have estimated as less expensive than the proposed culverting. It is regrettable that the OPW selected a more costly option prior to the determination of their own ecologist that the culvert extension proposal would cause permanent significant negative impact to otters and otter habitat. The upstream catchment storage would introduce additional biodiversity benefits to the Bride Catchment as well as protecting existing urban blue and green space crucial for otter breeding.”

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