Natural Resources Wales

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales, 2011-2014

First Report to the Minister under Section 18 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010

Natural Resources Wales has published its first report to Welsh Ministers on Flood and Coastal Risk Management in Wales.

The report, which has been produced on behalf of the 31 Risk Management Authorities in Wales (which comprise of Natural Resources Wales, the 22 Local Authorities, 3 Internal Drainage Boards and 5 Water and Sewerage Companies that operate in Wales), summarises factual information on the progress made between November 2011 and March 2014 in managing the risks from flooding and coastal erosion. In particular, it reports on the implementation of Welsh Government’s National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for Wales (the ‘National FCERM Strategy’) by all Risk Management Authorities.

This is the first such report, which is anticipated to become the standard reference document for facts and figures relating to flood and coastal erosion risk management in Wales. These reports will be produced every two years and will align with Welsh Government’s review of its National FCERM Strategy.

The report, compiled from information provided by all 31 Risk Management Authorities, has found that £165 million has been invested in flood and coastal protection schemes in Wales between November 2011 and March 2014 to help protect people and property. Despite this investment, flooding in Wales since November 2011 is estimated to have caused over £71 million in damage; a significant impact to people and communities across Wales as well as on the economy and disruption to road and rail links.

The report also explores progress across different aspects of managing flood and coastal erosion in Wales and identifies the major developments that have happened during the reporting period. Examples include:

  • improvements in assessing the location and severity of flood risk;
  • building and maintaining flood defences;
  • raising awareness about flooding and preparing community flood plans;
  • the flood and erosion events that occurred and how they were managed;
  • levels of funding, skills and staffing;
  • strategic planning for the future.

There have been a number of major flood events during the reporting period such as flooding in Ceredigion and North Wales in 2012 and the winter storms of December 2013 and January 2014. However, the report has found that the substantial advances towards greater collaborative and partnership working within Wales has helped significantly during these flood events. Such events have demonstrated how well the flood defences in Wales work to protect communities and how the Risk Management Authorities, communities and other organisations have worked together to reduce the impacts of flooding.

It is clear however that the national network of flood defences and the response of the Risk Management Authorities and other organisations during major flood events are seriously tested. More needs to be done to ensure communities and infrastructure across Wales are more resilient to flooding and coastal erosion in the future.

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