An estimated £8.1m of damage was caused to coastal defences in Wales during the storms in December 2013 and January 2014. This does not include damages to privately owned structures, such as those owned by Network Rail.

In 2014 we published a report in to the flooding. Using information from every local authority along the Welsh coast, as well as other organisations responsible for coast management and farming unions.

The two-stage Wales Coastal Flooding Review, looked at the impacts (Phase 1) and lessons learnt (Phase 2) caused by the storms that hit Wales on 5 December 2013 and between 3 and 6 January 2014. It identified 47 individual recommendations to help deliver a more resilient coastal flood and erosion management service for Wales.

Impact of the storms

Phase 1 report - assessment of impacts identified:

  • 315 homes were directly flooded and a further 575 were affected, as people were unable to access properties surrounded by floodwater.
  • The storms damaged coastal defences at around 175 locations across Wales.
  • An area of around 360 hectares of farmland was also flooded, including 200ha around Llanbedr in north Wales.
  • The impacts on those directly affected were very serious and distressing, and the repair costs substantial, they could have been very much worse.
  • Substantial investment in coastal defences, improvements to flood forecasting and warning and improved working relationships between organisations and communities all helped to reduce the impacts of these storms.
  • Flood defences kept an estimated 74,000 homes safe, meaning that less than 1% of the properties that might have flooded were actually affected.
  • Defences also helped keep 34,000 hectares of farmland, almost half the size of Anglesey, from being swamped.

We also carried out an audit which looked at the impact on wildlife and coastal conservation sites. This identifies the additional work needed to improve our response to and understanding of coastal storm impacts in the future. 

Review recommendations

The storms of December 2013 and early January 2014 seriously tested defences, as well as responses to the storms and the resilience of Wales’s coastal areas. Wales is particularly vulnerable to storms of this kind and climate change projections indicate that the risks will increase, due to more extreme weather in the future.

The phase 2 report (review recommendations) identified 47 individual recommendations that are divided into six priority areas:

  • Sustained investment in coastal risk management
  • Improved information about coastal flood defence systems
  • Greater clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of agencies and authorities
  • Assessment of skills and capacity
  • More support to help communities become more resilient

How to deliver the recommendations

This delivery plan consists of two parts:

Together these set out how these recommendations can be progressed and considers:

  • how the recommendations can be taken forwards (methodology)
  • by whom (which organisations and partners need to be involved)
  • to deliver what (continuous improvement or a specific output)
  • indicative timescales

Progress report

progress report has been created to capture the effort invested in implementing the delivery plan in the twenty months following its publication in January 2015 through to the end of August 2016.

A number of annexes are available as separate documents to provide detail and supporting information to the progress report of August 2016:

There is no Project 9 report for Recommendations 41 and 42 due to the longer-term, ongoing nature of Recommendation 41. The respective summary pages within the progress report recognise progress to date and associated external publications

Closure of the Wales Coastal Flooding Review

42 of the 47 recommendations were completed in three years. 

All partners continue to draw upon the learning experience of the Wales Coastal Flooding Review and its various benefits to support the practical delivery of a more resilient coastal flood and erosion risk management sector in Wales. This is an ongoing task, and one that will never be truly completed.

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