North East Wales

St Asaph flood defence plan tested in two-day exercise

Flooded homes in St Asaph
Image caption Hundreds of homes were hit when the River Elwy burst its banks in St Asaph in November 2012

Flood defence plans for St Asaph are being tested in an exercise, two years after it was swamped when a river burst its banks, killing an elderly resident.

Police, fire crews, flood wardens and water and electricity engineers are taking part in the scenario.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the role play will test evacuation drills.

Margaret Hughes, 91, died when the small north Wales city was inundated after the River Elwy overflowed in November 2012.

Image caption Margaret Hughes was 'fiercely independent' and refused to leave her home, an inquest heard

The case prompted a major overhaul of emergency evacuation procedures.

Mrs Hughes' inquest this month heard the vulnerable pensioner drowned in her Denbighshire home after she refused to leave despite flood warnings.

The hearing was told how Mrs Hughes was registered to received flood alert warnings, but her family did not receive them.

It also heard how rescue teams had to swim to homes submerged by the River Elwy deluge.

Image caption Workers practice how to respond to flooding incidents

NRW said the multi-agency exercise on Wednesday and Thursday would see how the emergency services and local authority would respond to a similar flooding incident.

It said the operation would involve both a table-top exercise and live role play - including issuing flood alerts and warnings, putting up removable flood defences and testing the flood warden network.

'Better prepared'

North Wales director of operations for NRW Tim Jones said: "The flooding in 2012 was devastating for people in St Asaph, destroying homes and businesses, damaging infrastructure and unfortunately ending with tragic consequences for one family.

"We've been working hard to support the community in the aftermath of the flooding, and to make sure the city is better prepared to cope with flooding in the future.

"We've already made huge headway in improving flood protection, but this exercise will be a vital test of the plans we've made, and how all the agencies involved come together to work quickly and efficiently to protect people in such an emergency."

Image caption The exercise will test how effective the current flood plans are

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