Wales reveals £34M investment plan for new flood and coastal defence schemes

The Welsh government has announced the new flood and coastal defence schemes it will invest £34M into over the coming financial year (2024-25).

As well as this, the Welsh government has announced it is matching last year’s funding for Risk Management Authorities with a further £75M.

The Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Programme 2024 to 2025 details how the funding has been allocated, with a total of £4.2M being offered via small scale works grants to 74 schemes to help local authorities manage localised minor flooding.

£1.4M will be invested in construction works to upgrade sea defences in Llanfairfechan, Conwy to reduce risk to 43 properties and £1.1M has been made available to Caerphilly County Borough Council to construct a scheme at Edwards Street, Ystrad Mynach.

The programme has also committed to continue construction at Stephenson Street, Newport, one of the largest flood alleviation schemes ever constructed by Natural Resources Wales. Once completed, it will reduce risk to 800 properties.

Funding has also been allocated to provide Natural Resources Wales with £800,000 to carry out capital maintenance works at Sandycroft, Flintshire, reducing the risk to more than 200 properties in a community which experienced significant flooding in October 2023.

The government is also nearing the end of its current Coastal Risk Management Programme (CRMP). This programme has seen £288M worth of concentrated investment over five years by utilising public sector borrowing powers.

The final three CRMP schemes will commence construction before the end of the 2024-25 financial year in which £16.6M has been allocated to Kinmel Bay, £4M for Barmouth Viaduct Gardens and £4M for Llandudno. Once completed, the CRMP programme will have funded 15 schemes across Wales, benefitting over 15,000 properties.

£4.6M will also be invested in nature-based solutions throughout Wales through the Natural Flood Management (NFM) Accelerator Programme, launched in October 2023.

It will work with natural process to improve the natural environment, increase the amount of wetland and woodland habitats and lower flood risk to up to 2,000 properties through funding 23 projects spread across eight different authority areas in Wales.

This winter was one of the top 10 warmest and top 10 wettest on record for the UK, with Wales currently experiencing its 8th wettest winter.

In October, 26 properties in Carmarthenshire were flooded when persistent heavy rain overwhelmed infrastructure in Ferryside and Llansteffan.

Then in November, Storm Babet brought widespread flooding to North Wales and over 100 properties were flooded in Flintshire. After Christmas, Storms Gerrit and Henk flooded nearly 40 properties in South Wales.

It also just recorded its warmest ever February, causing widespread havoc in the nation.

Earlier this year, Natural Resources Wales called for funding for flood defences in Wales to be more than tripled to keep up with the scale of change brought by the climate emergency.

Welsh minister for climate change Julie James said in a statement: “I am pleased to announce the publication of the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Programme for 2024 -2025. Given the enormous pressure on public sector resources at this time, combined with unprecedented construction inflation, this has been one of the most challenging programmes of recent years.

“However, we remain committed to investing in our flood and coastal risk management infrastructure.”

She continued: “The prolonged period of wet weather we have experienced across Wales this winter has provided yet another reminder as to why this investment is necessary.

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency and our atmosphere is heating up and retaining more moisture. Despite international efforts, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

“At a time of challenging budgets and accelerating climate change, this programme demonstrates our commitment to investing in flood risk management, keeping our communities safe and adaptable for generations to come.”

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