Welsh Government
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Investment in flood defences protects more than 99% of properties against recent storms

A review has found that Wales’ flood and coastal defences performed well in the December and January storms, protecting over 99% of coastal properties at risk of flooding, Natural Resources Minister, Alun Davies has said.

The Minister was speaking about the findings of the Natural Resources Wales flood review that he commissioned after severe storms hit Wales in December and January.

The flood review indicates that while the storms and associated coastal conditions reached levels and a ferocity not seen in Wales for many years, less than 1% of the properties and agricultural land at potential risk were actually flooded.

The performance of Welsh flood defences protected coastal homes and businesses and reduced both the cost of the emergency service response and the repair bill for local and national infrastructure.

The report suggests that without the investment into flood defences over the past ten years, the impact of the recent storms would have been considerably higher on coastal communities, with an increased risk of loss of life.

Alun Davies said:

“The weather conditions experienced in Wales over the past two months have been some of the worst on record. The damage and disruption to the coast has been significant and my sympathies are very much with those families, businesses and communities affected. However, this report shows that without our continued investment in flood and coastal defences, the picture could have been far worse.

“With yet more severe weather forecast for Wales, we know we can never be complacent about the potential impact of flooding on our communities. That is why we have significantly increased our investment in flood and coastal protection over the current Assembly term and why we will continue to do everything we can to protect people, homes and communities from the impact of the severe weather conditions.

“In January, following the storm damage, I announced £2m for emergency flood repairs. This funding enabled NRW and local authorities to proceed with repairs in time for the latest storms we are currently experiencing. Today I am announcing an additional £1m of grant funding to help restore the coastal protection damaged during the storms.

“This support, along with the £1.6m to help support storm-hit tourism and businesses will ensure our coastal communities can fully recover and remain resilient against storms and future events.

“In addition to the £4.6m package of support for this financial year, we are also considering funding options to address the remaining costs for coastal repairs identified in the review, over and above those flood schemes already planned for 2014/15.”

He also thanked Natural Resources Wales and local authorities for their hard work on the review and their continued efforts to protect Wales from the worst effects of the ongoing storms.

Jeremy Parr, Head of Flooding for Natural Resources Wales, said:

“Natural Resources Wales would like to thank the swift response in compiling this report and support we have had from local authorities and other organisations as well as Natural Resources Wales’ staff.  Many were involved in responding to these incidents and continue to work hard to repair the damage caused and provide support to the communities affected.

“Our staff have worked in areas like Fairbourne, Porthcawl and Amroth repairing our defences in very difficult conditions. We are undertaking a major operation in Llanbedr, near Harlech, to repair a breach in sea defences caused by the storms.

“Climate change projections indicate that we can expect to see more frequent and severe storms and increased in sea levels in the future.  The second part of the flood review will focus on what can be done differently in the future to improve Wales’ resilience to storms of this kind.”

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