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Natural Resources Wales urges people to prepare for Winter after record breaking flooding this year

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With winter fast approaching Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging people to take action now to make sure they are ready and prepared to deal with the potential for the changeable and challenging weather conditions the season could bring.

The record rainfall and river flows triggered by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in February year arrived following an exceptionally wet winter and led to the most severe and widespread flooding incidents seen in Wales since 1979.

And with the climate emergency bringing more extreme temperatures, more rain and more flood risk, it’s more important than ever before that people understand and prepare for the range of challenges winter weather can bring.

Flooding in Barmouth (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

NRW’s flood defences help to protect 73,000 properties across Wales. Yet individuals and communities can also play an important role in reducing the impact of floods by being aware of flood risks and potential impacts and by being prepared to take action if and when a flood occurs.

NRW is encouraging people to take some simple steps to help play their part in the preparation efforts:

  • Find out if you’re at risk of flooding – NRW’s upgraded online flood maps highlight if your area is at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, reservoirs or from surface water and small watercourses: For those properties which are at risk, the website also provides information about the practical steps families and businesses can take to reduce the impact of a flood.
  • Sign up for flood warnings – In many flood risk areas, you can sign up to NRW’s free flood warning service to receive an automated message when a flood alert, flood warning or severe flood warning has been issued in their area.
  • Create a flood plan – A template is available on NRW’s website which identifies the urgent actions people will need to take during a flood. A flood plan captures important information such as the location of gas/water mains, key contact numbers and a list of immediate actions to reduce the impact of a flood.
  • Prepare a flood kit – Be ready for a flood and have a pre-prepared kit containing essential items such as copies of insurance documents, first aid kit, prescription medication, pet or baby supplies, a torch and warm, waterproof clothing.
  • Do you have insurance? Check if you have adequate flood insurance as part of your cover.
  • Who deals with flooding? The Welsh Government’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) programme brings together a number of organisations from across Wales, to co-operate on preventing and managing flooding, through schemes and reporting.
  • You can also obtain help and advice by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 
Flooding in Monmouth (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Incident Risk Management from Natural Resources Wales said: “This has already been a record-breaking year of flooding in Wales, and sadly many families and businesses are still trying to get back on their feet following the exceptional flooding caused by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge last February.

“As our climate changes, we expect these types of events to become more frequent. And while our teams are taking action to make sure our rivers are free from debris and checking our flood defences, we also need people and communities to do their bit.

“Understanding your flood risk is the first step. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more people spending more time at home, and places of work or recreation closing their doors for long periods of time. If you do find that your property is at risk of flooding, there is wealth of information, advice and services which are available on our website.”

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“We will never be able to prevent all flooding, so it’s important that those at risk understand what small actions they can take to help protect themselves, their families and their properties this winter.”

Plummeting temperatures this winter will also mean that rain will not be the only element to contend with this winter.

Ahead of the first cold snap, NRW is also asking people who use heating oil to warm their homes to check their tanks and pipes for leaks to avoid pollution incidents.

Oil escaping from cracked pipes and damaged tanks can be incredibly harmful to the environment, as well as very costly to the resident.

People can report an an oil leak to NRW’s incident hotline on 03000 65 3000.

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(Lead image – River Towy in flood: Nigel Davies / Geograph)


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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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