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Council to begin natural flood management scheme in woodland close to Gnoll Country Park

Neath Port Talbot Council is due to start work on a natural flood management scheme amongst trees planted by Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust) at Brynau Farm next to Gnoll Country Park.

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The scheme is being delivered by Neath Port Talbot Council in partnership with Welsh Government and in collaboration with the Woodland Trust to safeguard local residents and reduce the community of Neath’s risk of flooding. 

Natural flood management interventions are aimed at reducing the risk of flooding and to protect residential areas of Neath through using natural materials and restoring natural water systems.

The natural flood management scheme will be situated within the newly planted woodland of Brynau, restoring ancient woodland and the natural beauty of Gnoll Country Park. 

The works will directly protect more than 200 properties and will greatly benefit the surrounding local community.

In July 2020, Neath Port Talbot Council received grant funding from Welsh Government’s Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) team, for Natural Flood Management Schemes to combat the impacts of climate change as flood risks intensify, using natural methods. 

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The first phase of the scheme at Preswylfa Dingle, upstream of the bottom pond at Gnoll Country Park, was completed in November 2021. 

Now, the second phase of the Natural Flood Management (NFM) scheme, at Brynau Field, is set to begin soon. 

This scheme will be situated amongst the Woodland Trust’s newly planted trees, as part of the Woodland Trust woodland creation scheme aimed at restoring what was once an ancient woodland in the upper reaches next to Gnoll Country Park, working with natural processes to reduce the effects of climate change. 

The natural flood management construction works will include uncovering a historic stone-lined underground drain with the intention of bringing the water to the surface. 

Natural flood management features such as ‘leaky barriers’ will be placed across the drain’s channel to help slow and intercept the flow of water. As part of this scheme, it is proposed to create two pond and bund features to temporarily store water. 

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Natural flood management interventions will generate and improve the local biodiversity and water quality by increasing the range and extent of semi-wetland and wetland habitats. 

A combination of woody leaky barriers and hedges will be placed across the tributary flow pathways to slow and temporarily store water behind the features, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground. 

Cllr Scott Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene, whose portfolio includes flood defence, said: “Neath Port Talbot Council is grateful to the local community for its  ongoing cooperation while this vital work is being carried out. 

“Throughout the construction process, the council will aim to minimise disruption to local residents as much as possible. The council apologises in advance for any unpreventable disruption that may be caused.”

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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