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Nia Griffith MP has told the Welsh government planning inspector that there should be no new building where it would increase the risk of flooding to existing homes. Speaking up this week at the inquiry into Carmarthenshire’s local development plan, the MP likened Llanelli’s landscape to a top hat, saying

“We have a very special landscape here – right round the coast from Pembrey in the West to Llangennech in the East –  steep slopes, a narrow coastal plain and then the sea, with a strong tidal flow which surges up rivers and waterways on that coastal plain. You could visualise it like a top hat – steep sides, a narrow flat brim which is the coastal plain and then the sea. This means that there is extremely little room for manoeuvre.

Welsh Government’s advice note TAN 15 prohibits house-building in a floodplain, but we must also limit development where it will increase flood risk to existing homes. Of course people are attracted to build on our coastal slopes by the spectacular views of the Gower, but whether it is Mountain Road in Pembrey, Bryn Gwdig in Burry Port, Genwen in Bynea or Talyclun in Llangennech, we need to take into account the increased flood risk to householders living in the communities below. Many residents in these areas have already seen the devastation caused by flooding, and is simply unforgiveable to increase that risk. Even now, whenever there is heavy rainfall, sewage overflow is let out into the estuary as the only way to prevent it backing up into people’s homes.

NRW has made considerable efforts to reduce flooding from rivers such as the River Dulais in Pwll and the River Dafen, and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water is spending millions to take surface water out of the system, and we are grateful for this investment. But this work is being carried out to alleviate our present problems and cope with the current surface water: it was never designed to cope with the vast run off from all the new hard surfaces like roofs, driveways and roads that come with new housing estates.”