RESIDENTS gathered to clean up debris from under a bridge over the River Alyn after heavy rain caused it to burst its banks.

Members of the Caergwrle and Hope communities removed bits of tree and other debris from under the Packhorse Bridge which was clogging the flow of the river and so left it highly susceptible to bursting its banks once again.

The Leader:

Concerns had been raised about the structural capability of the 17th century bridge surviving further severe flooding.

The bridge suffered severe damage after severe flooding in 2000, with some of the bridge literally being washed away.

But thanks to work of local people over the weekend, the river is now moving freely once again.

The seven-strong team, led by Ian Lloyd and including 84-year-old Hugh Edwards, even managed to dig out the river's silt bank to improve flow.

The Leader:

Over the weekend it took the team 12 hours to clear both sides of the bridge and to dig out the silt bank.

This is not the first time Caergwrle residents have taken matters into their own hands when it comes to environmental issues,

with local children cleaning up areas along the River Alyn a month ago.

The Leader:

Cllr David Healey, county councillor for Caergwrle, could not praise the team highly enough for their efforts.

He said: "I am so full of praise for everyone involved in the clean up, they really have done such a fantastic job.

"When the bridge was damaged back in 2000, it exposed the sewer than runs under the footway bridge. Thankfully on that occasion it did not fracture the piping but if the river was to burst its banks by the bridge again, that could well happen and we'd have sewage running into the River Alyn.

"But the work of the volunteers over the weekend will be crucial in preventing that from happening."

The Leader:

Cllr Healey says since the flooding in 2000, Natural Resources Wales has argued that floods of that sort only happen about once every 70 to 90 years.

He added: "It is clear that we are faced with climate change and that the old models do not work. The recent flood, in the middle of summer, really shows that the risk still exists.

"If the bridge becomes blocked with trees and debris the pressure builds up, causing flooding in local homes in Sarn Lane and potential damage to the bridge and sewer pipe. This is why I am so full of praise for the tremendous work done by local people who have acted swiftly to clear the arches in the event of another downpour."

Cllr Gladys Healey, county councillor for Hope, added: "The public have been immense in their work, they have done what needed to be done following the flooding and once again the great community spirit of the locality shines through again."

The Leader: