Section 19 flood investigation report for storm event in Rhydyfelin

Written by on 8th February 2023

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has published a Section 19 report focusing on the causes of flooding during an October 2021 storm event in Rhydyfelin, under its duties outlined in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. 

As the Lead Local Flood Authority, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council must provide a factual account of what happened in each significant flood event. The storm was not named by the Met Office and took place on October 4, 2021, resulting in internal flooding to 20 residential properties in Rhydyfelin, in the Taf valley.

Section 19 reports identify the Risk Management Authorities (RMAs), note the functions they have exercised, and outline what actions they propose to take in the future. The report for Rhydyfelin was published on Tuesday, February 7, and has been informed by inspections made by the Council’s Flood Risk Management Team – as well as information from local residents, the Council’s Highway and Streetcare Depot and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW).

The report is available to view in full on the Council’s website, here. 

From the evidence gained, the report establishes that the primary source of flooding in Rhydyfelin was significant overland runoff being generated from the steep hills above the area. Rainwater then drained to a series of ordinary watercourses, many of which became overwhelmed with water and debris.

The Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority as well as the Land Drainage Authority and, in these roles, it has undertaken 12 actions and proposed a further eight in response to the storm. Actions to date include clearance work undertaken to the culvert inlet structures identified as sources of flooding.

Survey, jetting and cleansing work has also taken place to around 134-metres of ordinary watercourse in the local area, while expandable flood gates have been offered to local properties deemed at risk of flooding. The Council has also led on the establishment of a central control room to monitor key culverts and provide an improved, multi-agency response during future storm events.

The report also confirms that a Strategic Flood Assessment will be developed by the Council to better understand the local catchment area and its flood risk. This will include an assessment of the upper catchment in Rhydyfelin, which will enable recommendations to be brought forward to mitigate the risk from ordinary watercourse, surface water and groundwater flooding locally.

The report concludes that all RMAs satisfactorily carried out their flood risk management functions in response to flooding in the storm event. Further functions have been proposed to increase preparedness for future storms.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said:

“The Council has published its latest Section 19 Flood Investigation Report, focusing on the unnamed storm event in Rhydyfelin during October 2021. The report outlines what happened to cause the flooding, identifies the relevant authorities, and reports on the actions that they have taken and propose to take in the future.

“This follows the publication of all 19 flood investigation reports relating to Storm Dennis between July 2021 and October 2022 – providing reassurance to residents that we are working very hard to reduce the risk of flooding in response to climate change. Around £12m has been spent on infrastructure upgrades in recent years, and £15m on repairs since Storm Dennis.

“The Council has developed an accelerated programme of more than 100 flood alleviation schemes in communities, of which half have been completed. Indications from the heavy rain in January 2023 suggest the work we have done so far has proven effective, although we understand there is still a lot more to do. We deployed the new control room for the recent storm, enabling us to provide more comprehensive monitoring and responses within the event.

“Today’s report for Rhydyfelin concludes that the Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority and Land Drainage Authority, carried out its responsibilities satisfactorily. It outlines the response which has included significant clearance work to local infrastructure, and the actions proposed for the future – including a thorough assessment of the local area to better understand the flood risk.”

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