Posted: Wed 28th Feb 2024

New machinery could be trialled in Wrexham to help unblock drains for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

New machinery could be trialled in Wrexham to help unblock drains in rural areas and prevent flooding.

It follows councillors who represent remote parts of the county borough claiming gullies in their area weren’t being cleared enough.

Wrexham Council is now planning to try out a new gully cleaner which is small enough to be able to be used on smaller rural roads.

The plan was revealed at a recent meeting of the local authority’s homes and environment scrutiny committee held to discuss its flood risk management strategy.

It came after the chair of the meeting, Ponciau councillor Paul Pemberton (Ind) questioned how the council intended to unblock gullies in hard-to-reach locations.

He said: “I know one or two councillors will be concerned about some of the gullies in rural wards where we’re struggling to get the normal sludge gulper up to them.

“Would it be pertinent at this moment in time to ask if you could look at grant funding to get some suitable machinery. I think it would be a way forward if we look at that problem.

“I know we’ve got a rota and we’ve got the computers in the wagon that gives you all the data, but some people in the rural wards are being left out and they feel problems are being caused that could be resolved earlier.”

In response, Kerry Williams, the council’s head of service operations, said he agreed with Cllr Pemberton’s concerns.

He said: “There’s a company from near Warrington that have had a unit sent back that was trialled.

“From what I can see, it seems to be a tidy machine which is probably just the right size to get up and down rural roads.

“It’s good enough for cleaning gullies to an extent but more importantly having the capacity to be able to jet them.

“We did trial another one but it wasn’t really good at emptying gullies and it wasn’t good at jetting.

“It’s difficult to find one but I believe that this one is probably one of the better ones.

“It probably will get trialled in the Ceiriog Valley and I think if it can work up there then it will work anywhere.”

Earlier in the meeting, Mr Wiliams admitted that the council was facing a backlog of gullies to be cleared.

He said the issue had been caused by un-precedently high levels of rain in the area.

He said: “We’re getting on as well as we can with the resource and the gear that we’ve got.

“When we’re having rainfall in the periods that we’re having at the moment it means we come off schedule and we have a number of complaints that we’ve got to go around and solve.

|If there are rural gullies and they’re not causing any risk to anybody getting flooded, then we’ve got other gullies somewhere else which we need to investigate further and unblock then they will take priority.

“We will get to them but once we’ve sorted anything that is a higher priority with homes or businesses flooding.”

Cllr Trevor Bates, who represents the Ceiriog Valley, said he felt people should take responsibility for cleaning gullies in their local area to alleviate the problems.

He said: “I’ve got my spade and wellies in the back of the car when we have downfalls and I do go around and clear the gullies.

“If Kerry has a anything that can clear out the drains, then we’ll be delighted to try it out in the Ceiriog Valley.

“We do need a big publicity campaign to involve people because let’s face it these days, we don’t help ourselves.

“I think engaging with the public and asking them to get involved and get a shovel out is something we’re going to have to do to protect our own properties.”

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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