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Welsh Government announces largest ever investment in flood protection

Written by on 15th March 2022

Climate Change Minister Julie James has revealed the Welsh Government’s largest ever flood programme, totalling more than £214m over three years.

The Programme for Government makes clear that we are focused on understanding the impacts of climate change, gathering evidence to identify solutions and deliver outcomes that help improve the resilience of our communities, economy and environment to support future generations.

This includes an increase in investment for flood and coastal erosion risk management and mitigation as part of the Cooperation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

The Minister revealed the details at a press conference following a visit to a £3m project at Aberavon that has strengthened the seafront promenade and protected homes and business from future storms and floods.

The Aberavon project is just one success to date. Last year the Welsh Government supported a wide range of work to reduce the risk from flooding and coastal erosion for more than 950 homes and businesses across Wales – with a further 3,600 benefitting from enhancements to existing defences.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said:

“As the latest IPCC report shows, climate change is happening now and already impacting the lives and livelihoods of millions across the world.

“As well as reducing our emissions, we all need to work together to adapt to a changing climate in the years ahead.

“Just last month, three successive major storms swept across Wales impacting many communities – investment in protection has never been so important.

“I am therefore pleased to announce our largest ever flood programme totalling over £71 million next year and £214m over the next three years.

“This will be used to deliver major flood schemes, identify local needs and develop future projects. Our funding will also help improved forward planning – we look forward to working with Risk Management Authorities to accelerate delivery and support for the people of Wales.”

The Minister also confirmed an increase of £24 million in revenue funding over the next three years which for next year will:

  • increase Natural Resources Wales’ budget by £1.5m
  • increase the revenue local authorities can apply for up to £225,000 per authority
  • extend the current Coastal Risk Management Programme by one final year.

The Minister also released a map showing how capital programme funding would be spent across Wales and the areas set to benefit. Next year’s funding alone will benefit more than 14,500 properties.

The Minister added:

“Our ambitious National Strategy for Flooding and Coastal Erosion in Wales, published in 2020, and associated Programme for Government commitments confirm how we are stepping up to meet the challenge of climate change and safeguard our communities from its impacts.

“Alongside the Strategy, we have published the Wales Flood Map, National Asset Database and Flood Map for Planning, all of which have been designed to tackle climate impacts.

“The record levels of investment I am promising today reflect the importance this Government places on flood risk management, as we improve our understanding of the challenges of climate change and work together to adapt and prepare.”

Designated Member Sian Gwenllian MS said:

“Climate change means our communities are at increased risk of flooding.

This funding will make an important difference – helping our efforts to protect homes and businesses across the country.

“In recent years, we have seen the real and often devastating impact floods can have on people’s lives, and over the next three years we are committed to investing more in flood management and mitigation.

“As well as reducing our emissions as a matter of urgency, we need adapt to a changing climate in the years ahead. This extra investment is the result of working together as we face up to the major challenges posed by the climate crisis.”