You may have noticed but we have had a shedload of rain, floods across the country, turmoil everywhere and with the climate changing, it is something which we are likely to see more frequently.
There are always heroes in every disaster. There will no-doubt be local firefighters, military and paramedics who saved stranded families in recent weeks, but I’d like to honour the office staff. Yes, some boring people with computers!You see, this could have been a lot worst!
Natural Resources Wales is the largest Welsh Government Sponsored Body – employing 1,900 staff across Wales with a budget of £180 million. Formed in April 2013, it took over the functions of the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales, as well as certain Welsh Government functions.
I drive down the A4067 from Ynysfforgan to Swansea fairly often. Just before Llansamlet, on your left hand side, if there has been any rain then it seems to flood on that site quite a lot. I’ve always just assumed that it is a spot that floods a lot, another council disaster.
What I only recently found out was that it is designed to do exactly that. A 7 Million pound project by these heroes in suits. These clever buggers foresaw this. We all know Llansamlet and that it is flat. It is pretty close to the river and not that much higher. It doesn’t take too much of a genius to imagine that there is a potential for the river to get too high and that the water will surge through shops/offices and houses. But this isn’t something we generally think about.
In the words from NRW: “The existing defences were constructed in the 1970s and were then raised in 1998. NRW carried out an assessment of the existing defences and recommend that major improvements were needed in order for the defences to withstand water overtopping during extreme flood events. The challenge was exacerbated by the difficulty of warning the largely transient commercial and retail visitor population of an approaching flood.
The new £6.9million scheme at Lower Swansea Vale protects this flood risk area, which consists of the several important industrial units and business mentioned earlier as well as housing. In total the scheme provides protection for 6 houses and 284 businesses. More than 10,000 workers and shoppers are estimated to be within the at-risk area during a typical weekday.”
Enough soil to fill 52 Olympic swimming pools was taken from the former Llansamlet Park and Ride site to form new embankments. As well as raised embankments the scheme creates more space for water by setting back the flood defences at the top end of the river and taking out three redundant bridges to allow more water to pass. The project also addresses measures such as flood warning and emergency planning.
The scheme has provided wider benefits such as the creation of a natural wetland area which has enhanced 6ha of brownfield industrial land as new green space for local people to enjoy and new habitat to support wildlife. Work also included upgrading 3km of National Cycle Network along the River Tawe including provision of a new footbridge. The construction period spanned 15 months from February 2013 through to May 2014, with some minor additional landscaping work carried out in the following years.
I love this. I obviously love the fact that it clearly works to a considerable extent but I feel kind of safe that there is this unknown body which we don’t really know exists that are constantly finding ways to keep us and our homes safe. Hats off!!!!