A FACTUAL report into a flooding that affected parts of Llanhilleth in February 2020 doesn’t reveal the tears and heartbreak of residents who suffered the catastrophe.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Executive committee on Wednesday, November 10 councillors looked at the findings of a flood investigation report into flooding in Llanhilleth on February 15 and 16, 2020.
During Storm Dennis, a total of 86 homes were affected by surface water flooding at Railway Street and Meadow Street in Llanhilleth.
The section 19 report, which is a legal requirement, explained that the flooding had been caused by a combination of high-intensity rainfall over a prolonged period of time, saturated ground from one of the wettest winters on record, and blockages in the storm drainage infrastructure.
The council’s head of community services, Clive Rogers said: “The winter that preceded the February storms of 2020 was one of the wettest on record and meant that much of the ground was already saturated before the February storms arrived, leading to an increase in the amounts of surface water runoff from catchment areas.”
Mr Rogers said that 95 per cent of the average monthly rainfall had fallen in a 24-hour period, as recorded by the Cwmtillery rain gauge.
Mr Rogers continued: “The river levels recorded at Aberbeeg river station during storm Dennis exceeded 1.8 metres high, the highest level recorded since records began in 1975.
“There was no evidence of river flooding during the investigation.
“Due to the saturated ground and the inability of the ground to absorb rainfall and the heavy and persistent rain surface water increased.”
Mr Rogers explained that Meadow Street and Railway Street are in “bowls” of land, which meant the water travelled to the lowest point in these areas.
According to the report it had been thought that a nearby water pumping station had failed but the investigation found that they had been working when the river Ebbw was at its peak during the storm.
Blockages to culvert had also caused problems with water “ponding” as it had nowhere to go.
Mr Rogers said that Blaenau Gwent staff will continue routine and critical drainage inspections especially ahead of forecast stormy weather.
Gullies and culverts will also be inspected for debris.
Environment portfolio holder, Cllr Joanna Wilkins, pointing to the criteria for a s19 flooding report, said “The very fact we’d like to produce this report means, unfortunately, something happened.
“Which means more than 20 properties have been affected.
“This report is very factual and that’s the duty of this report to do so.
“That doesn’t take away the human or the community impact this has had.
“There are things ongoing that will be reported in the annual flood risk management plan.”
She said that scrutiny committee, councillors and the public would be given updates on how the work is progressing.
Councillors voted to accept the report and publish it in line with legislation.
At a scrutiny meeting which discussed the report in October, one of the Llanhilleth county councillor, Lee Parsons, hoped a public meeting to discuss compensation could be organised with residents.