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NRW welcomes commitment to investing in Wales’ future flood risk
Commitments to invest in managing Wales’ increasing flood risk in the face of the climate emergency have been welcomed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) today (25 April).
Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS has outlined a range of projects that will be supported over the forthcoming year as part of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, 2023-24 programme of investment.
With 1 in 8 (around 245,000) properties in Wales at risk of flooding, the commitment will enable NRW to progress its plans to build and maintain flood defences across key flood risk areas across the nation, and invest in vital warning and informing services.
The announcement comes in the wake of the publication of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which underscored the urgency with which the world should act to mitigate climate impacts.
Extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and more severe in Wales in the future. Just four months on from COP27 and COP15, where world leaders committed themselves to rapid action on climate change and nature’s decline, the scale of the task is considered more urgent than ever.
Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales said:
“The evidence of the climate crisis is stark. We all need to plan now for a future with increased flood risk and we welcome this commitment from the Welsh Government to support flood risk projects today.
“We will continue to build flood defences and maintain our existing ones. But we will also need to take a broader approach to improve Wales’ resilience to extreme weather. This includes investment in vital warning and informing services, which empower people to know and understand their flood risk and the actions they can take to prepare.
“It also means placing greater emphasis on the whole river catchment approaches that are needed to tackle complex flooding problems. Natural flood management is part of this, helping slow the flow of water across the landscape and higher up in catchments. It also means working with land owners and decision makers to make space for and control the huge quantities of water we are seeing during floods.”
Across the whole of Wales, 73,000 properties at risk of flooding already benefit from NRW’s flood defences.
NRW’s schemes earmarked to benefit from the flood programme 2023/24 include:
- Stephenson Street, Newport– commencing construction work to improve tidal flood defences in the Liswerry area of Newport reducing the risk of flooding to 194 homes and 620 businesses.
- Ammanford, Carmarthenshire– commencing construction work to improve local flood defences in Ammanford which will benefit over 200 properties.
- Cardigan, Ceredigion– progress scheme development for areas liable to tidal flooding in the town around the Strand and St Mary Street and develop design work ahead of future defence construction.
- Porthmadog, Gwynedd – continued modelling work and scheme development, working with the community and stakeholders, exploring opportunities to protect hundreds of properties from both river and tidal flood risk.
- Pwllheli, Gwynedd – commencing the next stage of business case development, addressing both river and tidal flood risk to hundreds of properties on the Llyn Peninsula.
- The continued development of the Taff Catchment Strategic Flood Management Plan in response to the February 2020 floods. NRW continue to carry out detailed flood risk modelling in the Lower Taff catchment and the River Cynon and Rhondda to support the next phase of work planned to develop the plan. This work is being done in collaboration with all flood risk management authorities in this area.
Funding will also be available to help progress detailed appraisal work and flood risk project development work at locations including Tenby, Skenfrith, Rhyl, Prestatyn and Aberdulais.
NRW will also receive funding to continue its substantial improvement project on its Flood Warning and ICT systems and other related services such as its telemetry systems. This will help progress some of the actions outlined and the lessons learnt in the reviews of the February 2020 floods when NRW called for a seismic shift in how Wales responds to the climate emergency and manages its future flood risk.
The funding settlement will also enable NRW to progress important mapping and modelling work to inform future potential flood schemes and coastal adaptation planning. It will also support the delivery of many smaller projects across Wales including maintenance to the hydrometric work and the refurbishing and repairing of its network of flood defence structures.