Plans to mitigate the effects of heavy rainfall and cope with challenges posed by climate change will continue to be developed in response to the needs of the community.
The Flood Management division of the Department of Infrastructure was established in October last year and, 12 months on, is succeeding in providing a focus for the delivery of a range of projects and initiatives.
These include the ongoing work in Laxey and fulfilment of the recommendations of the Arup report, with oversight provided by the cross-government Flood Risk Management Board.
Communications have improved with the community in and around the village, assisted by the publication of a monthly newsletter, the appointment of community liaison officers and information published on the new iomfloodhub.im website.
A further public drop-in event is scheduled to take place on Thursday 21 October at the Working Men’s Institute in New Road. Plans will be on display from 1pm, and officers will be available to answer questions before a presentation takes place at 6pm aimed at describing the achievements to date and plans for the coming months.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle said:
‘Much has been achieved in Laxey already and work will continue to improve the resilience of the village for future generations. The range of skills provided by the Flood Management team is helping to ensure focus is placed on delivering solutions in a coherent way, in partnership with those who live and work in the area.
‘In addition to Laxey, work to minimise flood risk is being planned across the Island, including in Ramsey where an application has recently been submitted for West Quay. This follows a similar project completed under this administration in Castletown, which is successfully protecting residents and their properties from overtopping.
‘Work is also taking place on the Island’s uplands aimed at restoring areas of peat which will provide a natural storage for water and slow the speed which it travels towards populated areas.’
Empowering residents to protect themselves and their properties from flooding is an important factor when planning to cope with climate change.
In addition, residents can now access support and advice from the National Flood Forum (NFF), whose services have been extended to the Isle of Man. The charity is available to offer help on a wide range of issues - from advice on reducing flood risk, preparing for flooding and coping in the aftermath of a flood, to finding insurance and how to focus on recovery. It can be contacted online at nationalfloodforum.org.uk, by calling 01905 403055 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Talks remain ongoing with the UK Government with the aim of securing improved access to flood insurance for Isle of Man residents. The negotiations are being undertaken by the Treasury, which has also engaged positively with UK insurance bodies including the Association of British Insurers and British Insurance Brokers Association.
As this work involves discussions with multiple stakeholders across the insurance industry, it is a process which will take time to conclude. If successful, the earliest date for extension of the scheme to the Isle of Man would be 2026/27, subject to changes in UK legislation.
The Chief Minister added:
‘The Isle of Man Government recognises that flood risk insurance is essential for home owners to protect their homes and possessions, and I’m pleased that work is being undertaken in this area in line with the Arup recommendations.
‘On receiving the Arup report last year, I said that it was our priority to ensure that we continue to build more resilient communities going forward and protect them and their homes to the best of our ability from unfortunate events such as floods.
‘The work taking place to date offers me great reassurance as we prepare to hand the reins to the incoming administration.’