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15/06/2017

Welsh Government under fire over coastal protection policy

Words: Roger Milne
Coastal flooding / Shutterstock_656715658

The Welsh Government has come under fire from a key Senedd committee over lack of leadership on policy coastal flooding policy.

The Welsh Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee highlighted the controversial issue of managed retreat.

Coastal flooding and erosion in Wales comes under the remit of several bodies, including Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and water companies and other organisations such as the National Trust, Network Rail and the Crown Estate.

The report said all of them should be part of an “overarching national strategy” produced by the Welsh Government.

“While there are many excellent people delivering on the ground, and a very resilient spirit amongst those faced with the worst of these problems, this does not excuse the lack of direction and leadership provided to date,” said Nick Ramsay AM, committee chair.

The committee expressed particular concern over policy on managed retreat where it is determined that land should be sacrificed and the coastal line redrawn, possibly resulting in the need to relocate entire coastal communities.

This is currently a particular issue for the community at Fairbourne, Gwynedd, which has been told the coastal defences will only be maintained for another 40 years.

Ramsay added: “We want to see the government set out a range of options for managed retreat which doesn't take a “one-size-fits-all’ approach, which considers other British and international examples, and which considers what is needed to communicate effectively with communities at risk."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We are aware of this report from the public accounts committee. We do, however, strongly disagree with some of the report's reflections.

“We will consider the report and its recommendations in detail and the cabinet secretary will provide a formal response in due course.”

The report can be found on the National Assembly for Wales website.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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