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Milford Haven: Port denies responsibility for flooded homes

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has hit back at claims from the flooded residents of Lower Priory and Havens Head that a blocked culvert was to blame.

Several people have come forward to say that something must be wrong with the drainage under the Havens Head Business Park, owned by the Port, for the flooding to have got so deep, and so quickly.

One of those people is Colin Laugharne from Milford Haven – a former employee of Milford Haven Docks Company until 15 years ago – he told The Herald that he used to be involved with maintaining the culvert over several years.

Mr Laugharne is certain that a blockage caused the flooding and that the Port was to blame. He said: “Millions of pounds worth of damage have probably been caused by this flooding. If you go to the dock wall you can see that the water is just dribbling out. How can that be the case if it is working properly. If you look at the road in front of the library you will see water coming up and out of the drains, rather than going in. That is because the water can get as far as that point and then it has no other place to go.

“The blockage is therefore between the library and The Docks itself.”

He added: “We used to constantly keep that clear when I was working there, and we also used to even grease the drain door so it would open and close easily. I doubt that has been done since I was there.”

Mr Laugharne said: “I used to live in Havens Head – then I sold the house to my son. He was due to complete a sale of the property today but it has been cancelled due to the flooding – all because of a lack of  maintenance to the culvert. Its got to be kept clear at all times.”

The impact on families and businesses is serious. Glenda German, the landlady of The Priory spent an emotional ten minutes on the telephone with our reporter. She is staying with friends after the water level at the pub was threatening to rise to the first floor last night (Nov 8) where she lives with her pet dog, Bertie.

The Priory Inn, Lower Priory, Milford Haven on November 9 (Pic: Herald)

She told The Herald: “I do not think that I have been treated well. I have not seen anybody. I was rescued by  Michael (Barrett) and Swanny (Nigel Swann) in a yellow inflatable dinghy.

With obvious emotion in her voice she said: “My life has been turned upside down and inside out – I am gutted – Its my home, my whole life.”

Glenda explained that before the Havens Head development was constructed there was never any real problems with flooding at the pub.

But the Port said that water continues to flow freely through the culverts.

A press officer told The Herald on the telephone today that the claim of a blockage was completely false.

A statement from the Interim Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven quickly followed.

Andy Jones said: “Firstly, our thoughts are with our neighbouring residents and businesses today as they deal with the devastating effects of significant flooding following the sustained bouts of extraordinary rainfall coupled with high tides. 

“Since yesterday, our staff have been working collaboratively with multiple agencies, including the emergency services, to do everything possible to minimise the flooding impact.

“Our staff have been onsite throughout and we can confirm that the water continues to flow freely through the culverts which carry water from Hubberston and Goose Pills into Milford Docks. This is a system which we monitor and maintain on a regular basis.  

“With regards to water levels in the dock itself, we are rapidly sluicing water out as soon as the tide allows.  Additionally, the emergency services have installed pumps to take water directly from flooded areas into the dock.  

“It is important to note that lock gates are not able to resist the force of the incoming tide. We have no choice but to let the water flow into the dock as the tide comes in and close the lock gates at high tide.

“We will continue to work in collaboration with the emergency services as the situation develops. Further weather and flooding updates can be found on Pembrokeshire County Council’s website and social media channels.”

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Met Office: More rain and flooding warnings for Wales

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ALTHOUGH the severe weather associated with Storm Dennis has passed, there is further wet and windy weather to come this week.

With much of the ground around the UK saturated from heavy rain over the last two weeks, further severe weather warnings are in force for some of the worst hit areas. Yellow National Severe Weather warnings for rain have been issued for southern and north west Wales on Wednesday evening and through Thursday.

Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “Further rain will arrive on Wednesday evening and this is likely to become prolonged and possibly heavy over areas of high ground. For example, there is a chance that 60mm of rain could fall in parts of south Wales over 24 hours. With the ground already saturated there is a chance of further flooding, members of the public should check their flood risk and stay up to date with flood warnings from Natural Resources Wales, SEPA, NI Direct and the Environment Agency.”

Blustery showers will continue through the day on Monday and Tuesday, particularly in the west, these showers are likely to fall as snow over higher ground especially in Scotland over 200m in elevation. Although there will be sunny spells for many, thunder and hail could accompany the heavier showers.

Under clear skies on Tuesday night pockets of frost are likely as more settled conditions associated with a brief ridge of higher pressure pass through.

Rain and increasingly strong winds will move in from the west on Wednesday morning spreading across the whole of the UK through the day. Rain will be persistent and heavy at times in Wales and north western England overnight and a further front will move through on Thursday bringing heavy downpours.

Storm Dennis brought wet and windy conditions after what was an unsettled week, with Storm Ciara bringing stormy conditions the weekend before. South Wales saw the most rain from Storm Dennis, with 157.6mm recorded at a Natural Resources Wales site in Crai Resr, Powys, between midnight on Saturday morning to 10:00 this morning (17 February). The highest wind speed recorded during the storm was 91mph on Saturday evening at Aberdaron, Gwynedd.

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Public should ‘be alert’ as flood water causes disruption across Wales

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES is warning people to be alert as flood water causes disruption across Wales.

Coastal areas in west Wales have taken a battering, with Newgale flooding again.

The situation is stabilising, and river levels have started to peak but there are still warnings and alerts in place, and Natural Resources Wales are continuing to monitor the situation.

There are currently 2 Severe Weather Warnings, 83 Flood Warnings and 63 flood alerts in place across Wales.

Donna Littlechild, Duty Tactical Manger said: “Storm Dennis has caused significant impacts across Wales particularly in the south and west, from strong winds and heavy, persistent rain. With further rain forecast for the next few hours, we are urging people to heed advice from ourselves and emergency services.

“Our teams have been out day and night over the last 48 hours to reduce the risk to people and their homes. We have installed temporary defences to protect communities as much as possible, as well as deploying pumps, closing flood gates and supporting emergency services.

“Our thoughts are with those people who have been affected as we know how devastating flooding can be. If you’ve been affected, please keep safe and listen to the advice of the emergency services. Advice and information available about what to do if you’ve been flooded in available on our website”

People are advised to take extra care and allow extra time for their journey as driving conditions may be hazardous. People should also avoid walking or driving through any flood waters as it can be extremely dangerous. People should also avoid fast flowing rivers and streams as they could get swept away and avoid coastal areas.

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes and are available to view at www.naturalresources.wales/flooding

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Farmer Sean Burns has been given a 20 weeks custodial sentence

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THE FARMER behind the ‘farm of horrors’, Bramble Hall Farm, in Pembroke has been sent to prison following a sentencing hearing this morning.

Sean Burns has been given a 20 weeks custodial sentence, to commence immediately, for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters.

He was given an indefinite ban from keeping animals (which by virtue of the legal definition includes having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals),

No costs were awarded against him due to prison sentence being instigated.

The date for the sentencing in Crown Court for operating an illegal slaughterhouse, related hygiene offences, supply of unsafe food and animal by-product offence is currently awaited.

The hearing took place in front of District Judge Chris James at Swansea Magistrates’ Court

FULL REPORT IN TOMORROW’S HERALD

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