NPTC and the Aberdulais Aqueduct

NPTC would have known that the Aqueduct is located in a position that has been prone for 200 years to extreme flood events.

The Aberdulais Aqueduct was damaged during a storm in 2020.
The Aberdulais Aqueduct was damaged during a storm in 2020. There has been no maintenance or repairs on the Scheduled Monument for many years before the storm in February 2020.

Neath Port Talbot Council to Mr. Stephen Kinnock MP, Member of Parliament for Aberavon.

21 May 2021

Further to my correspondence with Neath Port Talbot Council regarding the future of the Aberdulais Aqueduct, I have received the following response:

‘We have received a number of items of correspondence on this issue. There is no suggestion as yet that Natural Resource Wales will be removing the aqueduct. However, you may be aware that this aqueduct is located in a position that has been prone for some years to extreme flood events. As a result of its location, the aqueduct has been the subject of damage from the rising water levels within the river as well as from the debris which is carried within the river especially during an extreme flood event such as that experienced during Storm Dennis.

Unfortunately, not only did the aqueduct experience damage during this flood event but the properties within the surrounding area, including most if not all of the residential properties on Canalside, as well as other non-domestic properties within the immediate area were badly flooded. This wasn’t the first time that these properties were flooded with many owners now experiencing problems trying to obtain insurance and as a consequence, suffering not only extreme emotional distress during such an event but also significant financial loss.

Following the storm event and the associated flooding, Neath Port Talbot Council (NPT) as the Lead Local Flood Authority took responsibility for preparing an investigation report in accordance with Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. This report was prepared in association with other flood authorities including NRW and Welsh Water (WW) and identifies three sources of flooding, one of which is from the overtopping of the river. It has been suggested that this overtopping is exacerbated by the aqueduct which during high rainfall events becomes obstructed by debris and acts as a barrier to the free flow of water along the river channel.

NRW is currently undertaking the scoping of a Strategic Outline Case to assess the viability of larger-scale changes to the river channel to further minimize overtopping. As part of this modeling work, NRW will assess the capacity of the river to accommodate existing and future water flows, the potential barriers to the free flow of water, and potential options available to protect homes and businesses which are currently prone to flooding without causing third party detriment to other properties.

It is acknowledged that the aqueduct is a scheduled ancient monument and as such is of significant historical importance, hence Jonathan Berry from CADW has been involved in discussions associated with the aqueduct.

I hope this response reassures that all organisations are doing all they can to protect the future of the aqueduct, including the involvement of CADW.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Kinnock
Member of Parliament for Aberavon.

Report Published: Investigation Report into Flooding Incident of 16th February 2020 Canal Side, Aberdulais (PDF).