Portarlington Flood Relief Scheme: Engaging with the public  

Portarlington is a town on the border of County Laois and County Offaly in Ireland that suffers from fluvial flooding with approximately 140 properties at risk, most of which experience regular flooding owing to the River Barrow and its tributaries exceeding their flow capacity.

Binnies and Nicholas O’Dwyer’s joint venture was commissioned by Laois County Council, Offaly County Council and the Office of Public Works (OPW) in August 2020 to provide engineering and environmental consultancy services for the Portarlington Flood Relief Scheme. The project is at Stage 1 – Scheme Development and Design.

The project team organised and hosted a face-to-face public consultation event on 24 November in Portarlington Community Centre. Present on the day were Fabio Spaliviero (Project Director), Pinelopi Tsira (Project Manager) and Nicole Del Tedesco (Civil Engineer).

Together with Laois County Council and OPW representatives, Binnies presented the project’s progress to date and discussed the two emerging options, answering questions from the numerous residents, businesses and landowners who attended the event, including an MP and the local press.

The event provided an opportunity for the public to express opinions and raise concerns or suggestions on the options presented.

Team at the public consultation
Photo courtesy of Leinster Express. Binnies team (from the left: Nicole Del Tedesco, Pinelopi Tsira, Fabio Spaliviero) with OPW and Laois County Council representatives.

The proposed flood relief measures aim to protect all properties at risk from the 1-in-100 year event, allowing for adaptability to climate change and enhancement opportunities for floodplain and habitat restoration and natural water retention measures.

Portarlington public consultation
Photo courtesy of Leinster Express. Presentation of proposed options for Portarlington FRS during the public consultation event held in Portarlington Community Centre.

Overall, the public responded positively to the designs presented and appreciated the thorough work behind the proposals, which will inform the preferred option. One resident said “We really want this [the Scheme] to take place. It is so important for the town. Our businesses suffer, our homes are going to flood, the river is all behind them. The water backs up to our back wall and shutter doors. They have planned it so that no-one gets flooded further down the Barrow. It sounds like they [Binnies – NOD JV with Laois County Council and OPW] are going to do everything they can to protect the Barrow habitat as well, that is very important to me.”

As per the current programme, Stage 1 is scheduled for completion by 2023 and submission for planning permission in March 2024. The detailed design and construction phase is estimated to be completed by the end of 2026.

About Binnies

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Media contacts 

Binnies UK  

Sascha Noar Tel: +44 (0)1737 856219 | Mobile: +44 (0)7825 356554 | Email: noars@binnies.com