A council chief executive has admitted that lessons need to be learned after floods devastated more than 120 homes on a new housing estate. But he says it isn't right to blame the local authority for the failure of the flood defences in Ruthin.
Culverts were blocked after heavy rain and a report to Denbighshire council recommends spending a quarter of a million pounds on improvements -and appointing flood wardens. But the victims still want to know who was responsible for the disaster, as Ian Lang reports.
The cost of improving flood defences for a North Wales community where more than 100 homes were inundated will run to around a quarter of a million pounds says a report.A total of 121 homes were flooded on the Glasdir Estate Ruthin in November last year.
Following the flooding, an independent report was commissioned to try and establish why the floods happened and how defences could be improved, but the investigation didn't aim to allocate blame or fault.
The report said that culverts near the estate play a vital role in reducing flood risk.But on the day culvert screens were blocked by between 65 and 95 percent, mostly by vegetation.It was believed the flood defences were of a high standard so the estate was not on a list of high risk areas.
Recommendations include heightening existing flood defences, introducing an inspection and maintenance regime and the creation of a network of flood wardens.The council say the measures proposed will give people living on the estate confidence that the flood defences will protect their homes.
The report will go before Denbighshire Council later this month.
An independent report into last year's devastating floods on the newly built Glasdir estate on the outskirts of Ruthin will be published today. On the 27th November last year, after days of heavy rainfall, residents woke to floodwater pouring into their houses. More than 100 homes were affected.
An initial report produced by Environment Agency Wales last year concluded the flooding was caused by a combination of factors, one of which was that debris blocked culverts which prevented water from draining away from the houses.
But Denbighshire Council commissioned an independent report, saying that there were still a number of unanswered questions.
Many residents spent months out of their homes as a massive clean-up got underway.
A report into flooding at the Glasdir Estate in Ruthin has found that a combination of factors caused the flooding of more than 100 homes.
The report, produced by Environment Agency Wales for the Welsh Government, concluded that;
debris blocking culverts stopped flood water from draining to the floodplain on the other side of the dual carriageway
gradients on the opposite side of the culvert meant that flood water could not drain to the wider floodplain and flood relief channel
heavily saturated ground in the lead up to the event as well as the sheer length of time the river Clwyd was in flood were also important factors
This report is an important part of our work to understand exactly what caused the flooding at the Glasdir housing estate.It is now important for those concerned to work together and learn the lessons from these floods. The report will help in assessing what steps are required to reduce the risk of flooding at Glasdir and improve flood risk management for communities across Wales.
– John Griffiths, Environment Minister
The report which is being distributed to the homes that were affected concludes that the earth bund which protects the Glasdir estate was overtopped due to these factors.
The Agency’s flood experts produced a model of the event to replicate the flooding on 27 November.
An investigation of the site, evidence from eye-witnesses, and photographic evidence showed that
the culverts would need to have been 85% blocked in order to cause the flooding of the estate.
The report will now be shared with relevant bodies and organisations to reduce the risk in the future.
Denbighshire Council have relocated 4 CCTV cameras to provide further reassurance to the public in the areaswhich were most affected by the floods.
Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith:
"The cameras will help provide reassurance to owners of empty properties and act as an additional deterrent to would-be criminals or anyone hoping to take advantage of potentially vulnerable home owners and families in the months ahead."