First phase of flood review to be released at the end of January


Matt Jones

A FLOOD review will look at the events that hit Wales in December and again at the beginning of January.

Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, said the review, to be led by Natural Resources Wales, will look at December's flood which saw 130 properties in Rhyl submerged and will cover all coastal authorities in Wales.

Mr Davies said the review would be carried out in two phases, the first, to be completed by the end of January, will focus on the impacts of the floods and assess the state of Wales’ coastal defences.

The second phase will look into the wider lessons learnt and the flood risk management in the affected areas and could be available by April.

Mr Davies said the reports were needed as soon as possible, but the immediate focus would remain on the clean up operation and recovery.

He said: "Last week we saw some of the worst conditions that Wales has experienced in more than 20 years and my sympathies are very much with those affected.

“The storms have severely tested our coastal defences but this is an event that could have been much worse.

"We know our continued investment in flood defence improvements in Newport, Borth, Aberaeron, Tywyn and Colwyn Bay has prevented or lessened flooding for homes and
businesses in those areas.

“My officials are continuing to work closely with local authorities and Natural Resources Wales on how we can assist in the aftermath of the floods, and I am encouraging affected local authorities to contact Welsh Government officials on grant funding for emergency works required to restore damaged defences.

“We are also in daily contact with the UK Government about an application to the EU Emergency Solidarity Fund, which was originally set up to provide assistance to those affected by the 2002 floods in Eastern Europe.

“We are now looking at how we prioritise future investment in flood defences so we can not only protect homes and businesses but also maximise opportunities for economic regeneration and growth in the long term.

"We know that our changing climate means that extreme weather events such as this are not going to go away. It is impossible to prevent flooding but we are working hard to build resilience around our coasts in Wales.”

Emyr Roberts, chief executive of Natural Resources Wales, said: “We sympathise with the people who suffered during the major storms which affected much of the Wales coast.

"We have already completed emergency repair work on many of our sea defences where this has been possible. However in some places, repairs will take much longer.

“As requested by the Minister, we will work with local authorities and other partners to quickly gather information on the impact of the coastal flooding so that repairs can be prioritised.

“We will then look at what lessons can be learned from these storms and what can be done to improve the situation for the people who live and work along the Welsh coastline.“

Over the term of this Government, the Welsh Government is investing over £240m in flood and coastal defences.

Despite cuts from the UK Government, the Welsh Government has maintained its flood and coastal erosion budgets.

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