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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 09:02 GMT
Flood warnings 'not good enough'
Llanrwst flood
The town of Llanrwst suffered severe flooding
An MP has said that the system of warnings put in place by the Environment Agency failed people whose homes were flooded last month.

Elfyn Llwyd, MP for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, told BBC Radio Cymru that the system of flood warnings failed residents of Llanrwst and Trefriw, in north Wales.

Dozens of homes in the area were flooded and the village of Trefriw was cut off as the River Conwy burst its banks.

Some residents complained they were not given enough warning and the Environment Agency, although saying it issued warnings, admitted there had been a particular problem with the village of Trefriw.

We were unprepared, bearing in mind that there hasn't been a serious flood in Trefriw that we know of since the 1960s
Mike Davies, Environment Agency

"I'm asking them to look again on the whole situation and that there is a process of working with the fire service, local government and the police.

"The severe flood warning means that there is a severe risk of flooding to property but the problem is that the agency does not give the warning out to villagers or areas that will be affected of less than 100 homes.

"This is not good enough in the context of Wales as there are numerous villages with less than 50 homes."

Mike Davies of the Environment Agency said it had been unprepared in some areas, but added there had not been a serious flood in the village of Trefriw since the 1960s.

"We recognise that the people of the Conwy Valley are anxious after the floods.

"Every time after an incident like this we review our procedures and look again on the system we had in place.

Furniture destroyed by flood waters
Many houses were damaged by the flood waters

"In Llanrwst itself the warnings went out on our automatic phone system some hours before the floods.

"The situation in Trefriw is different.

"We were unprepared, bearing in mind that there hasn't been a serious flood in Trefriw that we know of since the 1960s.

"The present system we have would not have worked there, but we are reviewing the system to see what we can do."

Mr Llwyd's criticisms came on the day that one of the UK's largest insurers has unveiled technology that will enable it to pinpoint whether individual homes are at risk from floods.

At present insurers assess risk through checking if the postcode of the property is in a flood plain.

Nearly five million people in the UK live in a flood plain, which makes it hard for them to get cover.

Norwich Union has digitally mapped the UK and can now calculate the risk of flood to within a few metres.

The insurer will be able to set premiums for home contents insurance based on a particular address, rather than just a postcode band, for both residential and commercial properties.

As well as showing whether an individual property is at risk, the map shows how often a flood is likely to occur and to what depth.


SEE ALSO:
Insurer 'maps' UK in flood fight
03 Mar 04  |  Business
Flood victims' six-month wait
05 Feb 04  |  Wales
Q&A: The cost of flooding
04 Feb 04  |  Wales
Anger over flood warnings
04 Feb 04  |  North West Wales
Couple's heartache as flood strikes
03 Feb 04  |  North West Wales


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