Flood Risk Management – public engagement exercise underway
The Council is asking residents and businesses affected by flooding last year to complete a survey which will help Officers collate local knowledge, storm event data and historical information about flooding.
Rhondda Cynon Taf was hit by four storms in succession during 2020 – Storm Ciara (February 8-9), Storm Dennis (February 15-17), an unnamed storm (February 21-24) and Storm Jorge (February 28-March 1) – causing record rainfall along with record river levels and flows. The County Borough saw its most significant flooding since the 1970s, with 1,476 properties flooded.
While acknowledging the Council’s widespread and dedicated response, Cabinet agreed 11 recommendations for improvement in December 2020 –aimed at limiting the impact on at-risk communities in future extreme weather. One of the agreed recommendations is to undertake a comprehensive review to identify those residential and industrial areas likely to be most at risk.
Starting in January 2021, the Council has appointed consultants Capita and Redstart to undertake a public engagement exercise – working on behalf of the Local Authority to collect information about flooding in local communities.
This exercise follows a successful pilot in Pentre, and the Council is now widening it to further communities within the County Borough. Leaflets outlining how to take part are being delivered to residents in key areas of investigation, while Redstart will also undertake a series of site visits.
Residents and businesses are asked to complete a survey, which is now available online here. Feedback received in this process will help the Council to better understand the storm events, and any evidence relating to the cause of flooding will feed into the development and publication of a Section 19 Flood and Water Management Act 2010 investigation report.
Residents and businesses can also take part by sending photo or video evidence, along with a description of the location, via email to RCTFloodEvents@capita.com. Those without access to the internet or email can call 07712538324 to arrange a timeslot for a short telephone interview, so their evidence can be recorded.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “Helping people, businesses and communities recover from the terrible flooding last year – along with work towards repairing damaged infrastructure across the County Borough – continues to be a major priority for the Council.
“Council staff went above and beyond their duties to help people in the atrocious conditions of Storm Dennis – and worked tirelessly in the weeks which followed to help with the clean-up and recovery. However, the experience gained in this extraordinary event has allowed us to assess how our readiness for extreme weather can be further improved, outlined in 11 targeted recommendations which Cabinet agreed to in December 2020.
“An important part of this process is to identify and further understand areas which have the greatest flood risk. Towards this goal, the Council is working alongside consultants in a public engagement exercise, so residents can tell us how they were affected and share their local knowledge about flooding in their communities.
“In normal circumstances, the Council would engage directly with residents and businesses through public meetings and face-to-face sessions. However, as is the case with current consultations across all Council services, our approach is being adapted to comply with coronavirus restrictions. We have received excellent engagement from those affected in Pentre through this online approach, and we are now extending the process to other communities.
“The survey is now online, and I’d urge residents and businesses who were affected to take part to help our investigatory work.”