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EU flood risk definition sparks debate in Wales

The new European Union directive on providing funding for flood defences has been met with criticism by Welsh politicians over the term “significant flood risk”. This is due to the fact that much of the country’s population is spread out across different areas and so does not meet the requirements to be deemed a priority.

Concerns over the risk of flooding in parts of Wales had been put to the Welsh Assembly Government, but the cash has already been put aside for surface water flooding reinforcements in places like Swansea, Cardiff, the central Valleys and Neath instead.

The sparseness of the population density in the rest of the country has been attributed as the factor that means it does not meet the Environment Agency threshold levels.

The fear is that rural areas may be at greater risk of flooding and the shift in priority to urban centres may lead to inadequate defences in these more isolated, smaller communities.

Surface-water flooding is a major problem, and not just in parts of Wales. Drainage contractors are often called out to perform maintenance and assessments regarding this issue throughout the United Kingdom.

The consequences of flooding on the economy, environment and heritage of a community – not to mention its impact on human health – means that it is something which cannot be underestimated.