Welsh farmers slam NRW for 'inaction' as floods continue

Anglesey farmers say they have been left 'exasperated' by continuous flooding, which they say is preventable
Anglesey farmers say they have been left 'exasperated' by continuous flooding, which they say is preventable

Anglesey farmers whose land is flooded every year have said 'enough is enough' as land continues to flood due to 'inaction' by National Resources Wales (NRW).

The area - in an Internal Drainage District - is protected by a dyke and a series of ditches and floodgates which are opened to release floodwater from the river Cefni.

These are then closed to protect nearby agricultural land from the ravages of high tides in the winter.

But as the first big storms arrived last week, farmers in Cors Malltraeth, between Malltraeth and Llangefni, were racing to rescue animals and save their livelihood from the floods.

Landowners in the area all pay annual rates to National Resources Wales for maintaining the ditches and the river.

However, the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) warned that dredging had been reduced to just cutting the vegetation back, leaving less room for the water to flow and leading to flooding every year.

At a lively meeting on 5 November, which was arranged by the union, farmers attending delivered a robust 'enough is enough' message to the NRW.

It was also attended by a representative of Anglesey County Council’s Structures Department and local Member of the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

FUW Anglesey county executive officer Alaw Jones said the problem was twofold - the clearing of the ditches and riverbed and the operation of the floodgates.

"Until recently the NRW used to clear the ditches and dredge the rivers much sooner in the season but now they say they don’t have the budget.

"This is ruining farmers’ livelihoods and is flooding food producing, quality land out of production," she warned.

She added that the farmers were desperate to fix the problem and had offered to rebuild the breaches in the banks of the river Ceint, which flows into the Cefni.

However, she warned that farmers were struggling as the NRW refused to grant them the necessary licences to work on the land.

“Members can be assured that we will continue to raise issues such as these on their behalf to ensure the problems are addressed," Ms Jones said.