Agenda item



The Committee received a report on the Emergency Flood Response Storm Event Arrangements.  The report, presented by the Cabinet Member for Environment provided detailed information on how the Council currently deals with and responds to storm events that cause widespread flooding and included the actions that could be expected of the Council.


Committee members considered the principles that were set out in the report for responding to flood events during the emergency response phase.


Members noted that the pattern of more frequent winter storms that required an emergency response had escalated over recent years.


The report concentrated on the main aspects of the operational emergency response phase and information relating to the immediate physical clean-up operation which was part of the recovery phase and in addition, it made reference to the wider aspects of the post event recovery response phase.


In response of a storm event resulting in significant flooding, the following distinct phases to manage such an event was reported:


· The pre-storm planning phase;

·Reactive immediate response phase during a flood event;

· A recovery response phase immediately following the event.


Members considered the following content within the report:


·       Partner agencies

·       Carmarthenshire County Council’s Emergency Flood Event Teams(overview)

·       Statutory Responsibilities and Functions (flood related)

·       Carmarthenshire County Council’s Planned Flood Response Process.

·       Private Property Owners Responsibility

·       Post-storm Long Term Actions


The following comments/queries were raised on the report:-


·       Thanks was expressed to Officers for compiling a comprehensive report which provided information which had been clearly set out.


·       Clarification was sought on the level of responsibility that Welsh Government and Natural Resource Wales (NRW) had on the river which caused the significant flooding in Pensarn, Carmarthen.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services clarified that in general terms, main river flooding resides under the responsibility of the NRW under the umbrella of the Welsh Government’s flood and wider environmental functions.  In relation to the flooding incidents in Pensarn, it was reported the flooding was caused by a combination of factors including the fact that rainwater was not able to discharge from behind the flood defence due to high river water level of the river Towy.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services informed the Committee that the Council were pursuing Welsh Government funding in order to undertake further work to explore what can be achieved to alleviate the flooding issues within the area of Pensarn, Carmarthen.


·       A comment was raised that the information reported in terms of the increase in the number of storms and the subsequent impact on communities was distressing and was likely to be attributed to climate change. 


It was raised that whilst householders and businesses had their own responsibilities it was asked what work was being undertaken to encourage communities and in particular vulnerable communities to have an emergency plan and trained emergency wardens?  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services agreed that it was important that communities should aim to be in a strong position to organise self-help and explained that following Storm Callum, engagement took place with those communities most affected.  It was reported that following a recent discussion with NRW in relation to flooding matters, Members were informed that whilst NRW would not be directly involved in the future, there was scope to assist communities in the setup of their own flood defence committees.  Whilst further discussions with NRW would take place to support this, Councillors were encouraged to raise this option within their respective Town and Community Councils.


·       In suggesting that there was a direct correlation between climate change and the recent increase of storms, reference was made to the upcoming COP 26 Conference in Glasgow in November 2021.  It was proposed that the Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee write to the First Minister and the Minister for Climate Change as the Welsh Government representatives attending the COP 26 Conference, to request that they pursue to mitigate climate change. This was duly seconded.  It was emphasised that decisions by leaders in the upcoming months are vital and would not only support Carmarthenshire County Council’s ambition to cut carbon emissions by 2030, but also for the future of Wales and beyond.


·       Reference was made to the new flood map published by NRW recently, it was asked in light of the new map if plans were being made to improve on flood defences?  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services reassured Members that the new map would be studied and utilised to inform the Council’s future strategy as a longer-term plan.  The Director of Environment re-iterated that the new NRW maps would be used in the longer-term planning of the strategies in terms of flooding and the impact of flooding.  In addition, Members were informed that the Forward Planning Team were also examining the new flooding maps in association with TAN 15 in terms of what alterations would be required and how it would be applied to future planning applications.


·       In response to a concern raised in relation to the vulnerable coastal areas, the Head of Waste and Environmental Services stated that a Shoreline Management Plan was in place which defines coastal areas and how they are managed.  Furthermore, it was reported that following any storm, all coastal and highway flood defence assets were inspected and programmed for repair subject to available funds.


·       Committee members were complimentary of the comprehensive report and hoped that the Welsh Government representatives would contribute in making important decisions at the COP 26 Conference in November 2021, in order to remedy climate change.




5.1      the Emergency Flood Response – Storm Event Arrangements report be received;


5.2      the Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee write to the First Minister and the Minister for Climate Change requesting that in support of Carmarthenshire County Council’s ambition to cut carbon emissions by 2030 they pursue to mitigate climate change at the COP 26 conference in November 2021.


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