Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation has called for the Government to use emergency EU legislation to repair flooding damage and restore access to homes and businesses.

“The appalling flooding that has struck the country over recent weeks has destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure,” stated the CIF Director General. ” The number of roads and transport links which were, and in many cases, still are affected, is very high.  The fact that today dozens of school buses have been cancelled and others are diverted in areas worst affected, as well as the many homes destroyed, and businesses that cannot reopen, is testament to the lasting impact these floods will have.”

Speaking in respect of the Cabinet’s package of measures to address the crisis, he added: “Investment in flood defence measures, dredging and other innovative engineering solutions to respond to these floods is essential.  We know that December 2015 was the wettest on record with over twice the average rainfall. Many of the experts are now saying that global warming is likely to bring further instances of such rainfall to bear, so we must up a gear in our approach to tackling this issue.  There is an engineering solution to all of these issues.  The construction industry is committed to playing its part to assist in the sustainable recovery from these floods, and in the planning for and delivery of the measures which will protect towns and villages in the future.”

 The CIF highlights the EU legislative powers available which could be employed to immediately respond to the crisis in certain locations.  A range of EU Directives allow the Government to rapidly procure works necessary to alleviate dangerous circumstances, and these Directives explicitly apply to instances where flooding arises.  The Government can therefore rapidly appoint a contractor to repair roads, railways, homes and businesses where there is a geographic or emergency risk.  A geographic risk would include instances of instability of buildings or structures, and an emergency risk could include risk to human life and livestock.

In this regard, Tom Parlon stated: “Access by ambulances and fire services for example would be incredibly difficult, very much delayed, and in some instances impossible without the help of the army, in many locations across the country at the moment.  These Directives have been used in Germany, Denmark and other locations hit by flooding across Europe in the past.  We need to see these types of measures being immediately employed by Government, and the CIF and our members are ready and willing to act quickly to assist in this crisis.”