Local businesses affected by recent flooding may qualify for the hardship grant scheme already rolled out for homeowners.
After intense lobbying from local firms which have been devasted with severe flooding, the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced an extension to the Flood Protection Grant Scheme to small non-domestic properties.
The new measure is in addition to the Executive’s decision to commit £1.3million to flood prevention.
Minister O’Neill said: “I very much welcome the Executive’s decision to commit £1.3million of additional funding to preventative measures and preparing for future flood incidents.
“This demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that homes and other properties are protected from the worst effects of flooding and that our infrastructure, where possible, should remain useable to minimise the impacts on communities.
“I have long held the view that flood prevention must be the priority and, therefore, Rivers Agency will use its allocation from the Executive to inspect watercourses in areas recently affected by flooding and to carry out an essential maintenance work identified in order to strengthen protection for the future.
“I am also happy that the Executive will step in to assist businesses severely affected by the recent flooding event.
“Last week, I announced the new £1million scheme to help people protect their homes from flooding. The grant scheme helps homeowners who may not be able to benefit from a larger scale flood alleviation scheme, to make physical changes to their homes to make them more resilient.
“Further to these measures, today I am also proposing the extension of the Homeowner Flood Protection Grant Scheme to small businesses, including farms. The recent flooding has highlighted the vulnerability of these types of properties and that we need to extend the range of our responses to flooding.
“I have therefore asked Rivers Agency to develop a similar scheme aimed at non-domestic properties,” she said.
Subject to a suitable business case being agreed, the grant scheme will open later this year and will allow owners of small businesses at risk of flooding to install physical barriers and equipment to help reduce the impact on their properties.
The Minister added: “The damage and hardship caused by flooding on all areas of our communities over recent weeks has been very apparent and that is why it is so important that I extend this scheme. This will allow small business owners and farmers who may not be able to benefit from a larger scale flood alleviation scheme, to protect their property from flooding.”