T1. Mr Patterson asked the Minister for Regional Development to state when her recently announced welcome work to raise roads in Fermanagh following the flooding problems will be completed and to outline what assessments were carried out to identify those roads as the key roads to receive funding. (AQT 3531/11-16)
I thank the Member for his question. My Department has received over £1 million to develop a package of road improvements across Fermanagh and other parts of Northern Ireland to mitigate future flooding. Over 50 roads were flooded in the Fermanagh area during the most recent flooding. Three main crossings of Upper Lough Erne are considered to provide the greatest public benefit, and funding is initially being targeted towards those schemes. The three schemes are as follows: the B55 Wattlebridge Road; the C436 Inishmore Road; and the B127 Newbridge Road. My officials are looking at options and costings for the engineering of those schemes.
I thank the Minister for her response on those three roads, to which £625,000 has been allocated. In some ways, that seems like a drop in the lough to complete the raising of the roads. It may be an indication that the Executive still seem unprepared to tackle the wider issues of flooding in Fermanagh. Can she confirm whether those projects will be completed entirely with the flooding fund or whether a substantial amount of money will be taken from the DRD budget for 2016-17?
I thank the Member for his question. Obviously, the money will go some way towards correcting and addressing the issues in Fermanagh. The Member is right that it will not rectify all the problems in Fermanagh, but at least it will start to make some headway towards it. Additional moneys may be sought during various monitoring rounds for other roads that are identified. At this stage, we are still identifying roads that require work. You will be aware that previous works helped in the past. I know that not all road works were successful, but the majority of roads remained open as a result of previous works. Like other Executive members, I plan to be in Fermanagh on Thursday, when I hope to meet engineers at a number of those sites to discuss the issue further.