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Welsh Assembly £2.7M coastal protection grant approved

Environment minister Jane Davidson has approved a Welsh Assembly Government grant of over £2.7M towards the first phase of coastal protection works Colwyn Bay. Work is expected to start on the project later this month.

The first phase of the Council’s coastal defence strategy, estimated to cost £5M, has already been approved for £2.3M from the European Regional Development Fund.

The existing sea walls were built in the late nineteenth century and now protect heavily developed areas of Colwyn Bay including residential and commercial properties and significant local and strategic infrastructure including the A55 Expressway and North Wales Coast Railway. Due to falling beach levels the defences have become increasingly exposed to storms resulting in increased damage and risk of failure.

Conwy County Borough Council’s defence strategy proposes to re-nourish the beach with sand and improve the sea walls. This first phase is to build a 200m rock groyne to the east of the Pier to contain future sand nourishment. In addition to funding for the coastal defence works, there is an additional £3M available for the enhancement of the promenade in this area funded through the ERDF Physical Regeneration in North Wales project. Proposals are currently out to consultation with the expectation that work will start on this scheme once the coastal defence element of the project is complete.

“One in six properties in Wales is currently at risk of flooding, with flooding estimated to cause in the region of £200M of damage each year,” said Davidson. “We recognise that as the climate changes and sea level rises, flood and coastal erosion risk is set to increase significantly over time and the Welsh Assembly Government is leading a major change in the way we manage flood and erosion risk to address this.

“We will have to adapt to increased flood and erosion risk by employing a wide range of measures such as improving warnings and community resilience and how we plan for coastal change.

“I am particularly pleased that the project includes development of a community risk management plan. This will assess the residual risks at Colwyn Bay and engage with the local community to see how these risks can be managed.

“The Assembly Government is committed to supporting as many flood management schemes across Wales as possible and our current programme indicates that over 2,000 properties will benefit from improved protection in 2010 /11.”

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