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‘Fence off parts of rivers to prevent increased flood risk’, says expert

19 January 2010

Parts of Wales’ rivers could be fenced off in a bid to prevent bridges becoming blocked and increasing the risk of flooding, a leading water expert will argue this week (Tuesday 19th January).

Professor Roger Falconer, a leading expert in water management from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, will tell a briefing of AMs that many of Wales’ old bridges are putting communities at increased risk of flooding.

Professor Falconer will say: "As the snow and ice melt it’s likely that many of our rivers will rise and become at increased risk of flooding.

"If you combine this with the fact that Wales has many old bridges which can so easily become partially blocked then the risk to communities of becoming flooded is even higher."

Professor Falconer will argue that simple preventative measures to help stop river bridges becoming blocked could act as a small step in addressing Wales’ increased flooding risk.

Professor Falconer will say: "The major flood at Boscastle in Cumbria in 2004 acts as a sobering reminder for us all. One of the reasons why this situation became so bad was because a car was swept along and blocked a major bridge.

"Unfortunately, Wales has many bridges of a similar design and it would be so easy for them to get blocked in a similar manner, thereby reducing water flow through the structure.

"Simple measures like bollards or fences in strategically placed areas along our river banks to prevent large items such as cars from getting swept into our rivers could help reduce increased flood risk in parts of Wales."

Professor Falconer will make his call for more preventative flooding measures during a briefing to AMs on the opportunities and threats posed by Wales’ water. Hosted by Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson the briefing sessions are designed to highlight key areas of research undertaken by leading Cardiff University academics.

Wales’ Water: Challenges and Opportunities by Roger A. Falconer, Professor of Water Management and Director of Hydro-environmental Research Centre, School of Engineering, Cardiff University takes place on Tuesday 19th January 2010, 12.30pm at Conference Room 24, Ground Floor Assembly Building, Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Visit the University website at:

Professor Roger A. Falconer FREng
Cardiff School of Engineering
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 2087 4280
Mob: 077 7564 0468

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 20 874731