Minister announces £1m flood protection grant for at-risk homes
A new £1 million grant scheme has been launched to enable householders to protect their homes from future floods.
Agriculture and rural development minister Michelle O'Neill said financial support would be made available to install physical barriers and equipment at flood-risk residential properties in Northern Ireland.
Ms O'Neill outlined details of the scheme in the wake of the latest spate of flooding.
Around 30 properties were flooded over the festive period, with low lying areas around loughs Erne and Neagh worst affected.
The overall cost of protecting an average home is estimated to be between £3,500 to £8,000 using measures such as door barriers, airbrick covers, non return drainage outlets and waterproofing walls.
Homeowners can apply for 90% of the costs under the scheme.
Launching the Homeowner Flood Protection Grant Scheme, Ms O'Neill said: "We have all seen the damage and hardship that flooding can have on individuals and communities over recent weeks so I am delighted that this scheme will help homeowners, that may not be able to benefit from a larger scale flood alleviation scheme, to protect their property from flooding.
"Those eligible for the scheme will receive a 90% grant towards the cost of installing equipment to protect their homes.
"Depending on the size and type of property we would expect the contribution from homeowners to be around £350 to £750.
"It is not always possible to completely prevent flood water entering a home, however individual property protection can reduce the potential internal flood depth, and this can substantially reduce flood damage and the subsequent costs of property repair."
The minister urged anyone whose home had flooded before, or was under threat of flooding in the future, to contact the Rivers Agency to determine if their property met the scheme's eligibility criteria.
The scheme is set to run for at least two years.
The £1 million set aside for the scheme is not being funded from the £1.3 million Northern Ireland was allocated as part of the Government's UK-wide response to the recent floods.