Northern Ireland

NI flooding: Grant scheme launched to help homeowners protect properties

A Rivers Agency van sits at the end of a lane to a house surrounded by flooded fields
Image caption Floods have hit many parts of Northern Ireland in recent weeks, damaging homes, businesses and farmland

The agriculture minister has launched a £1m grant scheme to help homeowners protect their properties against flooding.

People will be expected to pay around 10% of the cost of fitting flood doors and other measures.

The scheme will pay the rest after an assessment by a flood expert.

The total cost of protecting a home is expected to be between £3,500 and £8,000. That would leave homeowners with a bill of between £350 and £800.

Image caption The Rivers Agency said Upper Lough Erne, which is normally 45 square kilometres, was at one stage almost twice that size

Priority will be given to homes which have flooded before and which will not benefit from a government flood alleviation scheme within the next five years.

The grant is capped at £10,000.

The scheme has been prepared over the course of the past year.

Businesses are not eligible.

Image caption Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill recently visited families in County Fermanagh who had been affected by flooding

Michelle O'Neill said she intended to ask the executive to extend the flooding hardship scheme to businesses at the executive meeting next Thursday.

The minister said she understood the frustration of flooded businesses which were not eligible for the £1,000 grant.

She said some of the £1.3m extra flood money available from the Treasury could be used for this purpose.

The executive had said the money would be used for flood prevention measures.

The environment minister has already called for the extension of the hardship grant scheme to affected businesses.

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