It’s been reported that tourists due to visit Mid Wales have been cancelling their bookings. Mid Wales Tourism (MWT), which represents about 600 travel businesses throughout the area, says that the national publicity about flooding has had a negative impact on the region.
Anne Lloyd Jones, the organisation’s chairman, says that the flooding risks having a double impact, as some travel businesses have reported cancellations. She sympathised with homes and businesses that have been flooded and praised the work of emergency services, as well as the spirit in the community. However, she stressed that most travel operators in Mid Wales haven’t been affected by the heavy rains and are looking forward to welcoming travellers.
Companies who have been hit by the flood are due to be given support from the government. Local businesses said earlier this week that they hoped the conditions wouldn’t deter people from visiting Aberystwyth. This area heavily depends on tourism for income and is a popular region for people from the Midlands.
Earlier this week, homeowners and businesses were warned about flash flooding in some areas of England, even as hundreds of people continued to clean up the recent flooding. At one point, there were five flood warnings, signalling people to take immediate action. All of the warnings were for riverside areas in south-east England.
However, the Environment Agency issued over 40 flood alerts as well – which meant that flooding was possible – for south-east, south-west and north-east England, as well as East Anglia and the Midlands. Within 24 hours, as much as 65mm of rain had fallen – more than the average rainfall for all of June in the south. On Tuesday, the flooding closed four schools in West Sussex, while several A-roads and two lanes of the M3 were closed.
It doesn’t look like the bad weather will end anytime soon in some areas of the country, with another low pressure area expected later this week. Forecasters fear that even light rain will cause problems. Emergency services have warned people to stay away from floodwaters and not to try to drive through them. Health officials say people who have swallowed floodwater need to get medical attention if they feel ill.
On the Sussex coast, the clean-up from the recent flooding continued. There, around 40 properties, including B&Bs, were under up to 4ft of water. Over 1,500 people were evacuated and 150 rescued in Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Powys after water rushed through houses and businesses. These areas had been hit with up to 150mm of rain in 24 hours – double the average rainfall for the month of June.
Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, said the government is spending £40 million over the next 12 months to support flood defences and deal with coastal erosion. The reality is that flooding can’t always be prevented – particularly when such unusual weather patterns occur. The situation will be assessed, and they will hold discussions with the Environment Agency about what can be done to help support flood defences in the future, he added.
Despite the flooding, the Environment Agency says some areas of southern England are still in a drought. A spokesman says the rain follows the driest March for 70 years and has led to a big improvement in water resources. Reservoir levels have risen for water companies, many wildlife habitats are recovering from a lack of water and river levels are nearly back to normal, he added.
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