THE Government is fast-tracking plans to cope with climate change and flooding, the Environment Minister said yesterday.
John Gormley said the State's plans, as required under the Kyoto Protocol, will be ready within a year - a year earlier than required.
Mr Gormley was speaking in Cork as the multi-million euro mop-up continued in Mallow and Fermoy after Thursday night's devastating floods.
"Climate change is not a thing of the future, it is happening," he said.
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"A consequence of that is an increase in the incidence of flooding. My own area of Ringsend is particularly prone to flooding and I am aware of the difficulties faced by residents in flood-prone zones."
He stopped short of criticising the Office of Public Works for its implementation of flood protection measures in towns like Mallow, Fermoy and Clonmel.
"What I want to do in my capacity as Minister for the Environment is to speed up our adaptation plans under the terms of Kyoto," he said.
"They will deal directly with flooding and other issues.
"Those plans are expected within two years but I'm accelerating that. I want to get them within a year."
A major study of the flood risk and management measures within the Lee catchment area is almost complete.
Consultants Halcrow are due to publish the flood risk management plan within a few months.
The study was prompted by devastating floods which occurred in the city and county in October 2004.