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Agency's £7m plans to help cut flood risk on River Tawe

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: October 24, 2012

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MULTIMILLION-POUND flood defence plans for the River Tawe have been lodged with Swansea Council.

Environment Agency Wales (EAW) wants to reduce the risk of the Tawe flooding Swansea Vale, Swansea Enterprise Park, Beaufort Industrial Estate and Plasmarl Industrial Estate.

Thee hundred businesses and residents will benefit from the £7 million upgrade along a two-mile stretch of the river, if EAW's plans are approved.

The planned work includes:

A new wall on top of the embankment from Swansea Vale bridge to the A48;

raising a 165-metre section of ground at the rear of Asda, plus a new 180-metre-long flood wall opposite;

replacing Beaufort Bridge, and raising a 320-metre stretch from the bridge to Ferryboat Close;

and a new embankment along Plasmarl Industrial Estate.

The work will also create a new wetland habitat roughly the size of four rugby pitches at Swansea Vale, which will require the relocation of the Liberty Stadium match day park-and-ride site.

The "tolerated" traveller site which currently occupies a small section of the match day park-and-ride site will be relocated in advance of the scheme, said a report submitted as part of the plans by engineering specialists Black & Veatch Ltd.

A council spokesman said the traveller relocation was a temporary measure.

The Black & Veatch report said the defence work would reduce flood risk for 16 residents and 284 organisations, including Virgin Media and the DVLA, who would not be asked to contribute financially.

Another group set to benefit are the traveller families at the authorised Pantyblawd Road site, Llansamlet. This area is at risk of a worrying one in ten chance of flooding in an average year.

The report said the council would not seek any compensation due to the disruption of the works, and that the finished product would be an improvement for riverside walkers and cyclists.

Otter, bat, reptile and dormice surveys are continuing in the riverbank stretch earmarked for upgrades.

Last week the Post reported on EAW proposals to build a £3 million dam upstream from Pontarddulais to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Dulais.

The Welsh Government is expected to spend £150 million during its current term on flood defence. One in five — or 600,000 people — live in flood risk areas in Wales.

A BBC Week In Week Out programme last night questioned Welsh Government flood risk strategy, and claimed the same percentage of developments were getting approval after new flood risk guidelines were introduced in Wales in 2004 as before.

Referring to the planned River Tawe scheme, Steve Brown, of the EAW, said: "Many businesses and people in the area have suffered from flooding in the past, when the River Tawe has overtopped the existing flood banks.

"We estimate that a flood in this area can cost the economy up to £30 million so it is vital for those that live and work in the area that it is better protected."

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