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23/10/2020

Welsh flood and coastal erosion risk management blueprint published

Words: Roger Milne
Pembrokeshire / Shutterstock_194356277

The Welsh Government has launched its national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

This sets out long-term policies to manage flooding – as well as the measures that will be taken over the next decade by organisations like Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and water companies to improve how the country plans, prepares and adapts to climate change over the coming century.

Fresh guidance in the shape of an updated Technical Advice Note 15 is promised by 2021. This should help planning authorities to prevent inappropriate development on flood plains and ensure that they can make clear decisions based on the best available information.

The strategy highlights measures to reduce risk to homes and businesses and puts more emphasis on better communication, more natural and catchment approaches and increased cooperative working to prevent development in higher flood-risk areas.

“A key part of this work will be in recognising the risks and adapting in an intelligent and robust way. This may involve improving defences, but equally will also mean better management of land and water across a catchment to reduce run-off, intelligent planning and retrofitting of our towns and cities and, in some cases, creating space for water and recognising the need to move out of harm’s way,” stresses the strategy.

Part of the new approach is the Wales Flood Map, also just launched. This is designed to bring all Welsh flood and coastal risk mapping in one place, starting with the new Flood Risk Assessment for Wales (FRAW).

For the first time this will show flood risk from all sources and incorporate coastal and asset information.

The FRAW maps will be updated every six months so that people can see how flood schemes have reduced risk.

This will be joined by a new Flood Map for Planning and clearer planning advice – updated TAN 15 – next year, allowing authorities to make more informed decisions on development and provide a more complete understanding of risk.

Currently across Wales, at least 245,000 properties are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and surface water, with almost 400 properties also at risk from coastal erosion.

As the climate changes those risks will increase, with more frequent and severe floods, rising sea levels and faster rates of erosion of the coast.

Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said: “The strategy sets out how we will make the right decisions as we look to protect people, homes and businesses from increased flood risk”.

She insisted: “We are making significant changes to help accelerate delivery and better communicate risk. These include additional funding support for alleviation schemes and all-new flood-risk maps.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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