A 'UNIQUE tree catcher' could reduce the risk of flooding from a river to nearly 500 homes in Cardiff. 

Seven poles have been staggered across the River Ely to target trees and other large objects that would usually get trapped under the Cowbridge Road West bridge. 

The bridge is a known pinch point and partial blockage of the structure could lead to flood water backing up and overtopping the riverbanks, which has previously contributed to the flooding of homes and businesses in the area.

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As water levels rise during heavy rain, debris trapped by the new poles will float on the surface, allowing water to pass beneath and continue downstream. By trapping debris at a safe location upstream of the bridge, the risk of flooding is reduced.

Michael Evans, National Resource Wales' (NRW) head of operations South Wales Central, said: “The tree catcher is an innovative way to reduce the risk of flooding to the residents of Cardiff.

“We’ve all seen the recent devastation that flooding has caused to people’s lives across Wales. Two years on from the devastating February 2020 storms, the impacts of the floods were felt right across Wales and are still etched in our minds.

“Climate change will bring more frequent extreme weather and flood events. While we can never prevent all flooding, we will continue to invest the funding we receive from Welsh Government to manage Wales’ flood risk in the best possible way, working closely with local communities to identify the best combination of measures that tackle the specific threats.”

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The project cost £957,000 and was funded by Welsh Government.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “I am pleased construction of the Ely Tree Catcher flood alleviation project has been completed and would like to thank Natural Resources Wales and their contractors for their hard work with delivering this work.”

“This innovative project will assist in reducing the risk of flooding to hundreds of nearby homes at times when flows on the River Ely are at a heightened level."