AN investigation into the flooding incidents in Carmarthenshire caused by Storm Callum has put forward 55 separate recommendations for action.
Hundreds of homes and businesses across the county were affected by one of the worst flooding to hit South Wales in the last 50 years.
Storm Callum is the biggest flood event on record for the River Teifi and the biggest for the River Towy since 1987. The storm resulted in a massive clean-up operation running into millions of pounds.
As a Lead Local Flood Authority, Carmarthenshire County Council has a statutory requirement under section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 to carry out an investigation and publish its findings.
In particular, reports should be carried out for flooding incidents where 20 or more properties in a locality are affected by flooding internally. As a result, full reports have been carried out on the flooding that affected communities in Johnstown, Carmarthen; Pensarn, Carmarthen; Llanybydder and Llandysul / Pont Tyweli. Major flooding also occurred in Newcastle Emlyn on the county boundary, however Ceredigion County Council is taking the lead on this.
A multi-agency Storm Callum flood group has been meeting monthly since October to oversee the investigation and delivery of the recommendations and will continue on a quarterly basis to discuss the progress on the various actions. Many of the actions have already been completed, some are for the local authority to undertake; others are for various partner agencies such as Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, and Network Rail to take forward.
Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Storm Callum had a devastating effect on many of our communities and a real effect on people’s lives. We cannot underestimate the damage caused by this type of flooding and it is important a full investigation is carried out so that we can try and understand what happened and why, and what we can try to do to in terms of flood alleviation in the future.”
Director of Environment Ruth Mullen, who chairs the multi-agency flood group, said: “Going forward I think the report makes it clear that there is a need for us all to better understand and manage flood risk; and we also need to fill in some gaps in relation to the current information and knowledge we hold, for example, in relation to the surface water drainage network.
“There are also further surveys and investigations that can be carried out in some areas so that we can better understand if there are any additional measures that can be put in place to lessen the risk of flooding in the future. Of course, this will cost money and will be reliant on further funding and/or grants. We have already received £3.1milllion from Welsh Government to carry out repairs to the road network due to damage as a result of Storm Callum and we have also been successful in bidding for £30k of Welsh Government capital funding to undertake a feasibility study/outline business case to evaluate the flood risk and mitigation at Pensarn.”
The report will go before the Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee for discussion on Friday, Jul 5.