Infrastructure Minister in Northern Ireland Nichola Mallon has today (Monday December 14) signed the confirmation order for the £6.5 million Shimna River flood alleviation scheme.

The procurement process to appoint a contractor for the scheme in Co. Down will commence shortly.

Minister Mallon said:

I saw first-hand the devastation flooding caused in Newcastle on August 26. I made a commitment to do all I could to expedite the scheme and I am pleased that today is another step forward in this process.

“The scheme has been re-modelled to ensure the most up-to-date information from Storm Francis has been incorporated in the design.

“This will ensure a bespoke scheme that delivers for the 312 properties that will benefit from a reduced flood risk. I hope this brings some comfort and reassurance to homeowners in the Newcastle area.

“I also want to commend the work of the Regional Community Resilience Group (RCRG), that is jointly led by my department, in supporting the community that is at risk of flooding in Newcastle to enhance their resilience to severe weather events.”

37 people rescued after flood

The need for the flood alleviation scheme comes after 37 people had to be rescued from the Newcastle area of Co. Down after it was flooded during Storm Francis on August 25.

The Shimna river burst its banks which forced the evacuation of elderly residents on the Shimna road and the Bryansford road.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said that between midnight and 8:00 on Tuesday, August 25, it responded to 28 flooding incidents across Northern Ireland, including in the Newcastle, Maghera, Draperstown and Cookstown areas.