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FLOOD RISK IS GROWING; Number of localised incidents on the increase in capital due to extreme torrential rainfall.

Byline: Claire Miller claire.miller@walesonline.co.uk

MORE homes are at risk of flooding in Cardiff than four years ago, according to Environment Agency figures. While the proportion of houses at risk has remained at one in five, the number of homes at significant risk of flooding has grown by 73, while the overall number of homes at risk has risen by 1,741.

Cardiff council has also recently issued a report as part of consultations on plans to prevent flooding in the city. The council spends around PS1m a year to reduce the risk of flooding in Cardiff.

The report from the Environment Agency says Cardiff has not had a significant flooding event for several years and the last flood of note that caused property damage and disruption was in 2009.

But it notes that surface water flooding is a growing concern for residents and with increased periods of heavy rain the number of reported incidents is growing.

Statistics from Cardiff council revealed 204 reports of surface water flooding were received by Cardiff council between 2010 and 2012 - with Grangetown, Plasnewydd and Riverside the most frequently flooded wards.

Torrential rain caused flash flooding across many parts of Cardiff last November, with homes, businesses and the city's transport network affected by the extreme conditions. It also found around a quarter of people in the city are unaware of whether their home is at risk of flooding.

Ashley Govier, Cardiff's cabinet member for environment, said: "Although Cardiff has not had many significant flooding incidents there are an increasing number of local flooding issues that occur in periods of heavy rain.

"The numbers of localised flooding incidents are growing each year and the council is taking action now to protect the residents and businesses of Cardiff for the future.

"The council has taken the national objectives and built in their own objectives to deliver a proactive strategy that will go beyond the statutory requirements."

After serious flooding in December 1979 when the Taff burst its bank, the city spent PS3m on flood defences - building banks alongside where the Millennium Stadium is now and Fitzhamon Embankment and widening and deepening the river - to protect Cardiff.

Two people died in the flood and 1,000 were evacuated as most of Canton, as well as Cathedral Road, Westgate Street, Cowbridge Road and the Arms Park flooded.

Before that, serious floods struck in 1960, affecting 6,000 homes and flooding much of the western side of Cardiff.

All other parts of South Wales, apart from the Vale of Glamorgan, have also seen the number of at-risk properties rise between 2008 and 2012. Caerphilly has seen the number of properties at significant risk rise by 183 over that period.

Tom Williams, cabinet member for highways, transportation and engineering at Caerphilly council, said it was important for the public to understand how the council is working hard to prevent the significant damage that floods can cause, with its draft strategy aiming to highlight areas most at risk.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "A changing climate means we are likely to see more frequent flooding events. We are working to address this and are investing more than PS155m in flood and coastal erosion management over the life of this Assembly. To ensure that we invest wisely, we are developing a new national programme of investment that will help us to target funding at those areas at greatest risk of flooding.

"The environment minister will be holding a flood summit this spring to address the key issues Wales faces in managing the threats posed by flooding." | Cardiff residents have until March 21 to comment on the flood prevention plans, which can be viewed at www.cardiff.gov.uk/content.asp?id=14009&d1=0, while Caerphilly residents can e-mail views to johnsm@caerphilly.gov.uk

CAPTION(S):

A member of the Cardiff Parks Department at Roath Park, gives a helping hand to a stranded motorist at Lake Road West in December 1965

A car ploughs through the flood water in Neville Street, Cardiff, in December 1960

Boats are used to combat the flooding in Cowbridge Road East, Canton, Cardiff, in 1979
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 16, 2013
Words:692
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