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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 8TH APRIL, 2013

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 12TH MARCH, 2013

 

 

“           FLOODING WORKS CARRIED OUT SINCE JULY 2007 (REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER) (DVSH) –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson and Councillor C.J. Williams had requested that the matter be considered by the Scrutiny Committee for the following reasons:

 

·                     “The Vale of Glamorgan suffered from heavy rainfall on two occasions during November and December 2012, leading to localised flooding and road closures.

·                     Heavy rainfalls have become more frequent in recent years, with the flooding of 20th July 2007 being the most significant.

·                     However, more than five and half years later, many residents of areas flooded at that time still feel vulnerable at times of heavy rain, having suffered terrible losses that day.

·                     The recent report sent to Councillors regarding the rainfall of 24th / 25th  November was very helpful in updating us all based on that particular occasion.

·                     A fuller report concisely updating Councillors on flooding prevention actions which have taken place since 20th July 2007 to the present day would be very helpful in reassuring residents across the Vale that the Council is working in their best interests.

·                     This could include works which have taken place, plans which have been proposed but not yet enacted, funding proposals made and grants received for works, as residents with whom I have spoken appear to have difficulty comprehending the ‘behind-the-scenes’ delays which have prevented some works from taking place that would protect their properties from flooding.”

 

The Chairman advised that he had also received a request to speak from Mr. Steve Blakeman.  He had acceded to the request and then proceeded to advise those present of the format which the representations would take. 

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson, the first speaker, presented the Request for Consideration advising that he represented the Buttrills Ward, with the main emphasis for his request being to confirm what was actually taking place, what initiatives were being put forward, what lessons could be learned and advised that the issues and actions that had been a problem in 2007 remained the same issues today. 

 

Councillor Williams confirmed his agreement with the views expressed by Councillor Dr. Johnson and took the opportunity to seek clarification and update on the local issues within his Ward. 

 

Mr. Blakeman commenced his representations by advising the Committee that he had been a flood victim in 2007 in the Lundy Park area.  He had been part of and fully committed to a 4½ year campaign to try to resolve flooding issues and had been fully involved in discussions with the Council as well as the Minister and the Environment Agency.  He had provided information to the Flood Inquiry Wales, Cardiff University and had also spoken on the matter on the radio and TV.  He praised the Flood Risk Management Group for the work but took issue with the delays that had been involved.  He stated that he fully understood from the Environment Agency that there were legalities that needed to be addressed, but unfortunately these details had not been conveyed to local residents who had found it difficult to understand why the delays were taking place.  In his view the issue of 177 further houses at White Farm would exacerbate the problem and the situation therefore needed to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

 

The Director in presenting to Committee referred to the number of highway and other drainage schemes that had been implemented over recent years, some of which were contained within the report. He stated that the Council had specific records of the schemes but acknowledged that there may well have been other routine drainage maintenance works undertaken that would not necessarily have been recorded in detail.  Some of the works that had been undertaken were reported as:

 

·                     Sully Road – verge drainage

·                     Main Road, Ogmore-by-Sea – additional drainage installation

·                     Robbins Lane – additional drainage installation

·                     The Herberts – raised road level.

 

In providing background to the report, the Director stated that the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FAWMA) had been introduced with the aim of improving the way councils managed water resources.  It created clearer roles and responsibilities and instilled a more risk based approach. In conjunction with the FAWMA the Flood Risk Regulations (FRR) placed other certain responsibilities on councils.  Primarily, the identification of any areas classified as being of significant flood risk and following this exercise, it had been reported to Welsh Government that no areas categorised as significant flood risk existed within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

A detailed report on the FAWMA and the FRR had been presented to Cabinet on 8 June, 2011 which explained in some detail the requirements and the findings in relation to these pieces of legislation.  (Minute No. C1336 refers).  Copies of both the report and the Minute could be found at Appendix A to the report.  A detailed report had been approved by Cabinet on 14 January, 2013 in respect of the requirements to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and was currently subject to consultation (Minute C1976 refers). This report had also been presented to Scrutiny Economy and Environment Committee on 12 February, 2013 Minute 853 refers and Corporate Resources Committee on 8th February 2013 (Minute 828 refers).

 

As part of the requirements of the FAWMA the Highways and Engineering Department were also collating a data base of flooding incidents that had occurred recently.  The data base would allow events to be risk assessed and categorised in priority order should funding be identified to undertake works in the future. An extract from the assessment process was included in Appendix B for information. A substantial amount of other flood and water management work was also being undertaken by the Highways and Engineering teams which included:

 

·                     Drainage Coast General Enquiries / Advice

·                     Pre Planning Application Advice

·                     Planning Observations (Drainage)

·                     Building regulations Observations (Drainage)

·                     Consenting (Ordinary Watercourse) and enforcement

·                     Record and Register of Assets

·                     Designation of third Party features and appeals

·                     Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) Implementation and Policy

·                     Operational Maintenance

·                     Preliminary Investigations

·                     Detailed Investigation of Local Significant Flooding

·                     Reporting of any Significant Flooding

·                     Feasibility Study

·                     Local Flood Risk Management Strategy

·                     Flood Risk Regulations - Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments

·                     FRR - Flood Hazard and Risk Maps

·                     FRR - Flood Risk Management Plans

·                     Keeping of records and accounts

·                     Meeting with other Flood Risk Management Authorities

·                     FRM Training

·                     Coastal Inspections

·                     Coastal Preliminary Investigation

 

In referring to the Coldbrook Flood Management project the scheme had received funding from both Welsh Government, the Welsh European Funding Office with match funding by the Vale of Glamorgan.  There had been some unfortunate delays predominately due to design legislation changes and approval from the Environment Agency in relation to the main river elements.  A meeting of the Coldbrook Catchment Flood Risk Management Group had been held on 22 January 2013, where residents and local members had received a presentation from the consultants managing the scheme.  In addition confirmation had been received from Welsh Government (WG) on 28th February, 2013 confirming that WG had made provision for the scheme in their 2013 / 2014 budget.  Works on the scheme are due to start in the new financial year.  Officers were also looking to install certain 'personal' flood risk measures to certain properties at higher risk in the Lundy Park area of Barry.  A further more detailed report on this project would be presented to the Committee in due course.

 

A further Scheme had also been proposed at Llanmaes which included flood alleviation works incorporating surface water pipes and alterations.  This Scheme would be grant funded by Welsh Government to 85% of the cost with the Council providing match funding at 15%.  Detailed design had commenced for the project and it was anticipated that the works would commence during the 2013 / 2014 financial period.

 

A number of other highway drainage and flood alleviation Schemes were also proposed, although full funding had not yet been fully identified for these projects.  These included:

 

·                     Boverton Flood Alleviations - to address the recent flooding of a number of properties in the vicinity of the main river Hoddnant / Boverton Brook.

·                     Lavernock Road / Fort Road - New Drainage Pipes Inspection Chambers and Highway Drainage

·                     Llancadle - Highway Drainage and Land Drainage Improvements.

·                     Hayes Road - Highway Drainage Pipes Installation

·                     Cross Common Road Bridge - Officers were currently reviewing the Bridge propping arrangements to establish if greater flows beneath the structure could be obtained from an alternative prop design.

 

During his presentation the Director took the opportunity to thank Mr. Blakeman for his help in assisting the Authority in obtaining funding for the Coldbrook Catchment scheme.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services, with permission to speak, advised that he too himself had been a flood victim in July 2007.  He confirmed that the Flood Strategy was currently out for consultation and urged those present to respond on the document in order that the Council could ensure that it had a correct management strategy for forthcoming years.  In his opinion it was a matter for the whole Council in particular it had implications for the planning department and future planning applications.

 

In referring to the propping works at Cross Common Bridge, the local Member advised that in his opinion changes to the propping design would increase water flow under the bridge, thereby reducing flood risk upstream. The Director advised that consultants had been engaged to review the propping arrangements and that a report on this would be made available to local Members and residents by the end of March 2013.  He informed Members of his concerns that the cost of changing the props was likely to be disproportionate to the flooding reduction benefit that may be obtained and that removing the bridge in its entirety was the only real cost effective option to reduce flood risk in the area.  This also addressed the issue of the sub-standard bridge structure and traffic safety problems with the Cross Common Road Bridge / Cardiff Road junction. 

 

Members agreed that it was important to ensure that all flooding issues were reported immediately to the relevant department in order that an initial assessment and visit could be arranged to view the flooding as it happened.

 

With regard to the delays referred to by Mr. Blakeman, the Chairman queried with the Director whether he was optimistic that there would be no further delays. The Director in response stated that although there had been some disruption caused by changes to the river modelling requirements and problems with legal agreements between the Environment Agency and the Council, he had personally taken over control of the issue and would be dealing with the matter himself.  The Council would also be considering providing extra prevention measures for 67 properties in the Red Park and Lundy areas although the funding would not be available until April.

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson in his summation said that he was pleased to note the quality of work that had been undertaken and welcomed the additional money that would be available. However, he considered that the information and any lessons learned were relevant for residents and that the Council should ensure that the appropriate information was available on the website to inform people.  In response the Director stated once all the relevant work was completed, he would ensure that the information was widely available.  Councillor Williams also took the opportunity to thank the Cabinet Member for all the work that had been undertaken to date, but referred to the need for the Council to maintain its assets or future bills could be larger than initially thought.  

 

The Chairman, in conclusion, stated that the report had not only outlined all the issues for the Council, but in addition it had highlighted the works that had been undertaken to date.  He also concurred with the view that members of the public should be fully informed of the issues and of the work undertaken.  The Chairman thanked Councillors Dr. Johnson and Williams for bringing the matter to the attention of the Committee and Mr. Blakeman for his representations.

 

It was subsequently

 

 RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information and that Cabinet be requested to consider that the details of the flood and drainage schemes (as detailed in the report) are placed on the Council’s website for public information.

 

(3)       T H A T a progress report on current and future drainage issues throughout the Vale is brought to the Scrutiny Committee in 12 months following the date of the meeting.

 

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In noting the contents of the report.

 

(2)       To inform Cabinet of the contents of the report and to seek approval for the details of flood and drainage schemes to be placed on the website.

 

(3)       In order for the Scrutiny Committee to monitor progress.”

 

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 12th March 2013

 

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