£56m Programme announced for Wales Flood & Coastal Defences

In recent years, storms bringing floods in their wake have hit Wales’ infrastructure and businesses hard, as well as affecting homes within the region.

An announcement from the Welsh Government today that they have set aside £56m of funding to strengthen Wales flood and coastal defences will likely be warmly welcomed by Welsh business owners.  Some parts of Wales have been hit by several episodes of flooding already in 2018.  This follows a report earlier this month from the Environment Agency that we can expect even more flooding to come, as climate change begins to bite.

While driving is hazardous and public transport often fails in flooded regions, it is often seen as a short term inconvenience with a few weeks disruption at most.  However, for businesses and homeowners struggling to recover, the impact of flooding is still hitting home.

Llangefni in Anglesey was one of those regions hit hard at the start of 2018 – businesses are still reeling.  Neil Bevan, who runs Bevans Caravan and Camping Supplies with his wife Tracey, told the Daily Post his business suffered losses of £22,000 during the floods, and he is currently unable to get contents insurance until the situation is resolved.

Put bluntly, nobody wants to insure a business when they know they are likely to have to pay out, so today’s announcement cannot come soon enough for the many businesses affected throughout the principality.

Today’s announcement says that the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management programme has been prioritised according to risk, considering factors such as the likelihood and impact of a flood, previous events, the number of properties to benefit and the wider benefits of the scheme.

For the construction phase alone, the schemes planned for 2018–19 are expected to benefit over 6,500 properties.

Local authorities and Natural Resources Wales will receive funding to deliver flood risk management schemes to protect people, properties and businesses.  Many of the schemes will also deliver wider benefits including habitat improvements, recreational benefits and reducing risk to infrastructure.

The funding will be used to complete the construction of new and existing projects, as well as scoping and designing future schemes. The new programme was developed in collaboration with representatives from Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Welsh Local Government Association, local authorities, Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Among the major new schemes to commence are:

  • Machynys flood defences in Llanelli
  • Leckwith in Cardiff
  • Tidal works to the River Cadoxton
  • Llansannan and Mochdre in Conwy
  • Llanberis in Gwynedd
  • Llanmaes in the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Parc yr Onnen in Aberystwyth
  • Llyn Tegid Reservoir works, Gwynedd
The Welsh Government also announced last week plans for a new Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre, to inform decisions on coastal adaptation and potential schemes on a national basis.
Over the life of this Assembly term, the Welsh Government plans to allocate £151 million of capital investment for NRW and local authorities’ flood risk activities. Together with the Coastal Risk Management Programme, this results in a potential investment of over £263 million in flood and coastal schemes over the life of this Government.

The Minister said:

“Flooding can have a devastating impact on the lives of those affected.  This funding of £56m further demonstrates our commitment to reduce risk and build resilience to flooding and coastal erosion. 

“We are investing in new schemes and major maintenance right across Wales. I have also protected NRW’s budget for flood risk management activities next financial year, as well as funding a new Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre which will improve our understanding of coastal processes and inform better decision making.

“I’m pleased to announce this ambitious programme, which will support communities and areas right across Wales who are most at risk from flooding and coastal erosion.” 

For businesses like Bevans, strengthening flood defences can’t come soon enough.