§ Mr. Archer
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Department of Agriculture (Northern Ireland) drainage division's proposals to carry out drainage works on the River Blackwater, County Tyrone and County Armagh, have received approval; under what statutory authority the scheme is being carried out; what are the total estimated costs of the scheme; how much money the Government will contribute towards the costs of the scheme; what financial benefit they expect to accrue as a result of the investment of public money in this scheme; what area of land they estimate will benefit from the scheme by becoming available for agricultural production, or by being converted from its existing agricultural use to more intensive agricultural use; what are the results of any cost-benefit analysis carried out into this scheme; when he expects the scheme to be completed; and whether a full environmental assessment was made into the impact of the scheme upon wildlife and landscape.
§ Dr. Boyson
This scheme was approved in August 1982; it is being carried out under the Drainage (Northern Ireland) Order 1973. The total estimated cost is £19 million at 1984 prices and the net cost after deducting European Community grant and the Republic of Ireland's contribution is approximately £13 million. Benefits expected include more efficient production by farmers, alleviation of road flooding at 21 points and the provision of over 200 jobs during the construction period of five years; an estimated 3,200 hectares of agricultural land in Northern Ireland will benefit. Using 1984 costs the cost benefit assessment of the scheme produces an internal rate of return in excess of 5 per cent. The scheme is expected to be completed in 1989; an assessment of its environmental impact was made before works started.