Powys County Council have revealed that millions has been spent on drain clearance and flood management over the past few years.

Revealing the costs of clearing drains and flood maintenance between 2018 and 2023, Powys Council have revealed that in some years well over £1 million has been spent on flood management on the county’s highways.

As part of a request for information from October 2023, the council confirmed that the cost of drain clearance and gully emptying had increased from £697,358 in 2018 to £807,677 in 2023, though the 2023 cost is still under the rate of inflation of 4.5 percent a year.

The biggest increase comes from the cost of highways, ditches and grips. Drainage ditches are often used as outlets for water that is carried away from the road during flooding, particularly in areas where there is no other drainage system.

Drainage grips are used to channel water away from the carriageway and into ditches, dug or cut out of verges next to the road.


Since 2018, when Powys Council has recorded a total yearly expense of £443,672 in clearing or managing ditches and grips, that figure has increased to £1,638,212 by 2023, rising steadily each year since 2020.

One area in which the cost has significantly decreased is maintenance of bridges and culverts, with the 2018 cost of £147,049 decreasing to £79,750 for 2022.

Based on the yearly differences, 2018 seems to have been a notably expensive year for the issue, as the cost decreased in 2019 and 2020 with an annual expense of £67,737 and £46,596 respectively. The figure then increased to £70,865 the following year.

The initial request asked for both the cost of resolving reported drain blockages as well as the expense of preventative drain clearances to avoid potential floods.

The council added in response that the cost of both reactionary and pre-emptive measures are combined, meaning that each figure is both a response to reports of floods and blockages as well as efforts to mitigate future incidents.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The costs are combined as we would book the resolving of reported blockages and cost of preventative drain clearances to the same set of activity codes. As such the costings requested are not held individually.

“However, in an effort to be of assistance, we have provided the combined costs as far back as these are held in financial years.”