DRAINAGE rates for Conwy residents involved in the Tan Lan embankment works have been annulled by 100 per cent.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) agreed to the full annulment for residents in the Conwy Internal Drainage District, which receives low-level flood protection to nearby homes and caravans, agricultural land and the A470 trunk road.

It follows a viability study into the works by NRW after the Tan Lan embankment was breached during Storm Ciara last year.

There have been at least 10 breaches to the embankment since the 1960s.

A petition was launched against the drainage rates along with Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders after local landowners repaired the embankment due to NRW maintenance work being halted during its viability study.

Mrs Finch-Saunders slammed the Conwy Valley IDD Advisory Group, which receives the rates to fund maintenance work, after it was revealed that the board had not met since the flooding in February.

“This is yet another serious flooding failure by NRW and Welsh Government," she said.

"That they have not held an Advisory Group meeting for over a year is shocking.

“Last year Storm Ciara saw around 70 properties flooded in the Conwy Valley, businesses cease trading, livestock killed, and the railway line damaged again.

“The damage was devastating so it is scandalous that NRW have not arranged a meeting of the Conwy Valley IDD Advisory Group.

“To put it politely, using Covid as an excuse to try and justify lack of action is a load of rubbish. From the Welsh Parliament to family quizzes, so many of us have been able to participate in meetings virtually.

"Why NRW has not pursued this option is baffling."

Mrs Finch-Saunders, who is also the Welsh Conservatives shadow minister for climate change, energy, and rural affairs, said the full rates annulment is the only method of repaying local farmers who have "shouldered" the impact of the Tan Lan embankment works following the flooding last year.

“It has long been my belief that only a full rates annulment would adequately reflect the costs that these local land custodians have shouldered as a consequence of recent works to the Tan Lan Embankment,” she said.

“I wish to applaud the important flood defence work that these local farmers have undertaken following NRW’s decision to refuse maintenance until the conclusion of their viability study.

“Importantly, their hard graft over recent months ensured that this defence was readied for the wet winter months.”

Sian Williams, head of operations in North West Wales for NRW said: “Despite multiple repairs to Tan Lan embankment over the years, it breached again in 2020 resulting in flooded farmland.  

“As part of the climate emergency, we anticipate more frequent storms and heavy rain as well as rising sea levels. The breaching of the Tan Lan embankment is going to be an ongoing issue, given its deteriorating condition and low level.

“We have started to explore the best way forward for the future of the Tan Lan embankment, working with local landowners, to create a sustainable flood management solution that ensures local homes are protected.

“We have suspended our maintenance of Tan Lan embankment until a viability study has been completed to identify sustainable and long-term options.

“Whilst this study is being undertaken, local landowners took the decision to repair the embankment. We are therefore not charging their annual drainage rates for the farmland behind this embankment within the Conwy Internal Drainage District.”