North East Wales

St Asaph flood defences officially opened

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Media captionArchive footage of St Asaph under water in 2012

A £6m flood defence built to protect a city which was badly hit by flooding six years ago has been officially opened.

The River Elwy burst its banks on 27 November 2012, affecting 320 properties in St Asaph, Denbighshire, and claiming one life.

Margaret Hughes, 91, was found dead in her bungalow after believing she would be safe there.

Water levels rose by up to 7ft (2.1m) in the space of about 30 minutes.

Following the flooding, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) commissioned an extensive study to fully investigate the flood risk and designed a scheme to reduce future risk.

The new defence will protect 293 homes and 121 businesses including schools, retirement homes, sheltered accommodation, a library, a doctor's surgery and a fire station.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption St Asaph was devastated by floods in 2012

The project also includes bird and bat boxes as well as new trees and hedges to replace those removed while construction work took place.

Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn officially opened the defence.

"We witnessed some awful and tragic events for the community back in 2012," she said.

Image copyright FAMILY PHOTO
Image caption Margaret Hughes was found drowned at home, a pre-inquest hearing was told
Image caption Hannah Blythyn AM, Welsh Minister for Environment

"It is important because it does bring peace of mind to the community, and also because the scheme is £6m of investment and 400 properties are now protected including schools, St Asaph fire station and community facilities."

Tim Jones, NRW's executive director of operations for north Wales, said: "While we can't always prevent flooding from happening, we have built a robust scheme for St Asaph that will significantly reduce the risk and provide effective, long-term peace of mind for people in the city.

"And the scheme's environmental improvements and new recreation opportunities are a boost to everyone's day-to-day life in the city as well."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dozens of people had to be rescued from their homes during the flooding

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