Slow paperwork is blocking river cleaning

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Floods on the Barrow Bridge  in Portarlington. Photo: Michael Scully.

Floods on the Barrow Bridge in Portarlington. Photo: Michael Scully.

Fewer Laois rivers were cleaned this year due to the level of paperwork required by environmental laws, according to Laois County Council.

“It is becoming more and more difficult to achieve river maintenance,” council engineer Paul McLoughlin said at the September council meeting.

He said it is partly down to the level of paperwork which ensures environmental protection for river ecology, while many rivers are also designated as Special Areas of Conservation.

“We are constrained also with the timeline. We can only go in in the latter part of the summer. This year seems quieter. But there was work done on preparatory assessments to get projects off the ground next year,” the engineer said.

Cllr Tom Mulhall had complained about the lack of river dredging this year, after the council’s first Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was approved by councillors.

“It’s nearly impossible to get river maintenance done with one report after another. The rivers are full of silt and weeds. I fear a major flood over the winter because of the minimum amount of maintenance. There was very little being done as regards drainage,” he said.

The Cathaoirleach is Cllr Willie Aird from Portlaoise.
“We need basic dredging of the River Triogue or we’ll run into trouble. It solves 80% of the problem, keeping rivers clean,” he said.