Farmer proposes innovative solution to flood problems on the River Elwy
A farmer from the St Asaph area is proposing to create a natural floodplain meadow on her land in a bid to reduce problematic flooding in the area.
Samantha Kenyon from Glanllyn Farm near St Asaph plans to turn her largest field, the 24 acre Dôl y Coed Fawr beside the River Elwy, into a floodplain to help slow down the river’s flow during rainy periods and prevent further flooding downriver and in neighbouring homes.
Ms Kenyon has gained support for the project from Nature Friendly Farming Network, of which she’s a steering group member, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS, Llyr Gruffydd, and her local councillor Councillor Meirick Lloyd-Davies.
She also has encouragement from Natural Resources Wales which is monitoring the scheme closely subject to a feasibility study and topographical survey.
To help with the project she has set up a Crowdfunder to cover the groundwork costs involved. Explaining her plans on the fundraising page she said: “I’m proposing to deliver an environmentally sustainable, long-term solution to localised flooding in the face of climate change, while also working to address the biodiversity crisis.
“With an increased number of storms and heavy rainfall experienced each year, I believe that we can help our community by creating a flood basin in our farm’s largest field, where flood water can be held back to help slow the flow.
“My vision is to help nature and biodiversity recovery as we need to reverse the loss of biodiversity. One in six species are at risk of extinction here in Wales.
“I want to create a species-rich floodplain meadow and plant a wet woodland habitat within a flood water basin. I strongly believe in nature-based solutions.
“Creating a 24-acre flood basin with a diverse mix of flood-meadow plants will help to store water at peak floods as well as lock away carbon all year round. It will also help to reduce river pollution, by filtering water during flood times.
“Planting an area of wet woodland habitat within the basin will further help with the filtration of river water, as well as slowing the flow and creating urgently needed habitat for a whole host of species.”
After visiting the site and hearing Ms Kenyon’s plans Llyr Gruffydd praised the project. According to the Rhyl Journal, he said: “It’s good to see farmers taking the initiative when it comes to local environmental solutions to global problems.
“Far too often, farmers have been stereotyped as being part of the problem when it’s clear from talking to Sam and so many other farmers who care passionately about the environment, that they’re a key part of the solution.
“Let’s stop blaming farmers and start working with them at a grassroots level to tackle some of the challenges we face in terms of quality food production, regenerating the soil and safeguarding the environment.
“The best ideas are often the simplest and this scheme typifies that notion.”
Cllr Lloyd-Davies added: “Small farms like Glanllyn contribute so much to our communities – and this scheme could safeguard many homes in the immediate area from flooding on the Elwy.
“I’m delighted Llyr could visit the farm and see for himself the work that is ongoing to harness environmental solutions to practical problems such as flooding.”
The Crowdfunder which has raised nearly £5k already can be found here
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