Llanrwst Flood: An update for residents
My heartfelt sympathies go out to all the families who were affected by this weekend's flood.
My sympathies also go out to the three people who had to be saved by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and also to the owners of Gwydir Castle who were stuck in their home, and to the Llanrwst Football Club who has seen their pitch and facilities destroyed by the floodwater.
Here I will try to provide the residents of Llanrwst with an update of the events that took place on Saturday.
Both Cllr Ian Jenkins and I were in the emergency control centre (at Glasdir, Llanrwst) with Conwy Council, North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to direct help and resources on the ground to the areas most in need in Llanrwst, and to the other affected communities in the Conwy Valley.
The priority was, at all times, those whose lives were endangered - like the aforementioned 3 who were rescued.
As well as directing help at the emergency control centre, the decision was swiftly made to close the A470 in both directions as the roads were impassible.
Afon Conwy was recorded at its highest ever level and highest flow on Saturday (at Cwmlanerch).
The Dutch Dams in Llanrwst are part of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Flood Alleviation Scheme. Usually, during an event like this, NRW would erect the dams to protect the properties in Conwy Terrace and Watling Street. The Dams are in place to guard against an event where water from the river surpasses the wall along Afon Conwy on Bridge Street. Luckily this did not happen this time.
But, as many of you know, the Dutch Dams were not erected this time, although a temporary dam was in place (as you can see from the photo above).
I am told that the reason the Dams were not erected this time was that about a month ago NRW completed their regular test of the Dams and found that there was a partial fault.
The Dam itself was not fixed in time for this flood, which is why it was not erected. But as mentioned above, a temporary dam was in place. The water you see in the photo above is surface water and water from highway gullies - not water from the river.
Conwy has sandbags at its disposal for what it calls 'highways flooding'. This typically means redirecting the flow of water from properties if highway drains (which are owned by the Council) overflow or burst.
The Council will not provide sandbags to residents for long-term preparations for flooding, but will assist during a flood. What this essentially means in that safety preparations for your home should be made by you the homeowners.
What this doesn't mean, however, is that the Council will not help you during a flood - they will.
Conwy will make reasonable efforts to help residents who are at imminent risk of flooding, but this does depend on the available resources at the time. The Council will use sandbags at locations where there is an imminent risk to life or property. This decision will be made by responding officers.
If the Council has not already responded to your area, sandbags are available - in the event of a flood - at the Council depot in Plas yn Dre and also at NRW's Tan Lan Yard in Llanrwst.
Please ask local Council officers for help, or give the Council or myself a ring (details below).
In the event of a flood, resources will be stretched. If you are collecting sandbags for your property, please ensure that your neighbours - especially those who are elderly or vulnerable - are also safe and are given sandbags to protect their property.
Y BERLLAN, Y PERTHI & OTHER PARTS OF TOWN
Other parts of Llanrwst which are not adjacent to Afon Conwy, like Y Berllan and Y Perthi, were also adversely affected by high levels of surface water this weekend - which caused flooding.
A new scheme is being drafted by Conwy Council to deal with this longstanding issue. A public event will be held in the next few months to update residents on the proposed plans.
The proposed plans will deal with the excessive surface water which cumulates at the end of the roads at both Y Perthi and Y Berllan, as well as along School Bank Road.
A letter will be sent to residents of Y Berllan, Y Perthi and School Bank Road notifying you of this public event soon.
The telemetry, installed as part of flood alleviation schemes, allowed a flooding officer to remotely monitor water heights and blockages on watercourses to deploy teams more effectively to take necessary action, such as clearing a build-up of debris. For example, the trash screen at Plas Isaf in Llanrwst was cleared within 30 minutes of the telemetry alert.
It is too early to say how many properties have been affected, but we know that the number of affected properties would have been much higher without the flood alleviation scheme. For example, in Cae Person in Llanrwst, the water stayed within the channel rather than overflowing.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our emergency services for their swift response and the local Council team for all their efforts. Staff from Conwy's Highway Department were deployed from 7.30am until the last call at 11.45pm on Saturday working on the flooding, immediately followed by gritting all routes overnight and on Sunday morning. This was followed by flood clean up and investigation works during Sunday.
I must also take this opportunity to thank the local community for pulling together this weekend. As resources were stretched and roads impassible, everyone in Llanrwst worked together to protect property and the health and wellbeing of elderly and vulnerable neighbours. Diolch!
Teams will be door knocking to complete questionnaires and offer support to affected residents. This information will be fed into Conwy's flood investigation.
There are 10 more flood alleviation schemes in progress for Betws y Coed, Llanrwst, Penmaenmawr, Mochdre, Llansannan, Dolwyddelan, Llanfairfechan, Abergele and Glan Conwy.
ANY CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS?
If you have any other concerns or questions, please feel free to send me an email, give me a ring or send a DM on facebook;
Other useful phone numbers:
Conwy Council (emergency): 0300 123 3079
Welsh Water: 0800 052 0130
Natural Resources Wales (NRW): 0300 065 3000
British Gas: 0800 111 999
If you think your house is in imminent danger of flooding, please dial 999 immediately.
Conwy County Councillor for Llanrwst