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Councillor calls on Natural Resources Wales to cooperate in tackling flood management

A COUNTY councillor has called on Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Welsh Water to join his authority in tackling flood risks after “some hostility” between groups involved in investigating the aftermath.

Cllr Brian Jones wants those two bodies, Welsh and UK Governments and other stakeholders to join a “task and finish” group to progress the work needed to help prevent damage from future weather events.

On Thursday Denbighshire council’s communities scrutiny committee heard how Storm Ciara ripped through the county last February, causing widespread flooding as rivers were swollen with torrential rain.

On the River Elwy at Pont y Gwyddel, between Llanfairtalhaiarn and Llanefydd, and St Asaph the gauges recorded their highest ever levels on February 9, 2020.

According to its own investigations NRW said the water height gauge at St Asaph failed but the environment watchdog believes it was well above the previous high of 4.35m, recorded in the November 2012 floods.

The reason Denbighshire’s report has taken so long to see the light of day is, as the reporting authority, it has to wait until NRW finished it’s own investigations into the floods and the reasons for them.

NRW is responsible for investigating and mitigating fluvial, or river, flooding and Denbighshire council has responsibility for surface water flooding.

The investigations detailed a raft of flood mitigation work but councillors were frustrated no timescales had been set for the improvements.

Addressing the meeting Cllr Brian Jones said: “There will be assurances from NRW to action recommendations in these reports.

“I have got big hopes they will move forward and work together with us and other stakeholders.”

Tony Ward, Denbighshire’s head of highways and environmental services, explained most of the flooding came from rivers during Storm Ciara, meaning most of the mitigation work fell to it to complete.

The suggestion also emerged things hadn’t gone as smoothly as they could between the various agencies, such as NRW, Welsh Water and Denbighshire council, when assessing what had gone wrong during the floods

Chairman of the committee Cllr Huw Williams, who is also chair of the flood investigation task and finish group, said: “We have managed to iron out some hostility between the groups.”

After the meeting Cllr Brian Jones said: “I have requested and will ensure Denbighshire council makes flood management one of its top priorities to help protect residents in the future.

“I am also encouraging NRW, Welsh Water and other stakeholders to join us on the journey. Welsh and UK Governments also have a big part to play.”

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