Flood risk cut for 6,500 homes, says Natural Resources Wales

More than 1,000 people were forced to leave their homes in flooding in north east Wales in 2012

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Thousands more homes in Wales have been protected from the worst the weather can throw at them, according to Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

It says risks have been reduced for more than 6,500 homes and businesses thanks to £165m being spent on flood and coastal defences since 2011.

But more than 200,000 properties are still at risk, including 21,000 at high risk.

Floods have hit homes in places like Ceredigion and Denbighshire.

NRW has produced a report which it says shows how investment - mostly from the Welsh government and the EU - has had an impact in protecting communities.

Graphic The number of properties at risk in Wales

Improved forecasting and warning systems were also giving people valuable time in preparing for flooding.

It is estimated those hit by flooding suffer damage worth £40,000 per property.

Coastal areas including Rhyl and Aberystwyth were hit by storms last winter.

"With climate change predicting that we are likely to see more extreme weather in the future, we are taking action now to make sure we can be more resilient to the increased risk of flooding," said Steve Cook, NRW manager of flood risk strategy.

The report also found that:

  • Flooding caused an estimated £71m of damage across Wales.
  • 624 flood plans are now in place for communities and businesses across Wales so people know what to do if the worst happens.
  • The number of homes now at risk from flooding is 208,000 - down from 220,000 five years ago, thanks to improved modelling, mapping and new flood schemes.
  • 600 properties - not covered under area flood plans - benefit from individual property protection.

St Asaph resident Joanne Ellison was out of her home for 211 days while flood damage was repaired and is now one of more than 30 flood wardens for the town liaising with NRW.

She said short-term measures such as cutting back trees and bushes along the river bank and a phone hotline to report blockages such as logs had helped keep the river flowing "a lot faster".

She said: "The long-term measures we would like to happen a little faster. They are consulting with residents to help the residents feel safer at night when the rain is coming down.

"I'm hoping it won't happen again but we can never say never."

People are rescued by the RNLI from the floods in Rhyl last December The RNLI rescued people caught in floods in Rhyl last December

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