The Welsh Government is to invest record sums in flood and coastal risk management schemes across Wales for 2021/22, continuing to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion to communities, as the impact of the ongoing climate emergency continues to be felt.
The Welsh Government will provide £36million – the highest amount of capital funding provided in a single year – to councils and Natural Resources Wales to help them invest in new defences, maintenance works and natural flood management schemes.
The new funding comes at the end of a Senedd term which has seen the Welsh Government invest more than £390 million in capital and revenue spending to help combat the risk of flooding and coastal erosion, benefitting over 45,000 properties. This includes a major investment to support the Coastal Risk Management Programme worth over £150 million.
The Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Programme will see £17m given to Natural Resources Wales – more than £7m of which will cover core flood activities including maintenance and mapping projects – and £19m to Local Authorities.
Flood defence projects backed in the 2021/22 programme will help to reduce risk to communities in areas including Treorchy, Dyserth, Ammanford, Glynneath and Llansannan.
The full programme will be available online, and will be followed by a map showing the spread of schemes across the country.
In addition to capital funding for schemes, £29.4million in revenue will be provided to support the wider work of our Risk Management Authorities, including staffing, outreach and maintenance activities, bringing the total investment in 2021/22 to £65.4 million.
Flooding events seen across Wales during the last year have highlighted the need for continued support for communities facing increased flood risk – particularly as the ongoing impact of the climate emergency makes incidences of severe flooding more likely in the coming years.
Successes in last year’s FCERM Programme will continue into 2021/22, including:
- Maintaining support for WLGA; the Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre and the Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee;
- 100% grant funding for Local Authorities to prepare new schemes, including business cases, consultations and design work (this approach saw applications increase by a third from 2020/21)
- Increasing the funding contribution for delivering coastal projects from 75% to 85%
- 100% funding for the Natural Flood Management (NFM) Programme – using sustainable methods to curb flood risk, with 15 projects ongoing worth £2.8m.
- £4m for repairs to damaged flood alleviation assets – in addition to £5m provided last year
- A further £4m to support the Small Scale Works Grant, allowing local authorities to tackle flood risk through smaller flood alleviation schemes – supporting 86 projects across Wales, and benefitting more than 1,700 properties.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:
“Last year, we saw terrible scenes of flooding throughout Wales – with some communities affected on more than one occasion. “The COVID-19 pandemic meant the impact of flooding was even harder to deal with than usual, and responding to floods became more difficult.
“As Wales looks to tackle the root causes of the climate emergency, we also have to deal with its effects, and help communities in responding to the increased likelihood of severe weather events. Sadly, ‘once in a lifetime’ flooding events are no longer once in a lifetime.
“This record £65.4million funding provided through our Flood and Coastal Risk Management Programme for 2021/22 will help support communities across Wales as they respond to increased flood risk, and comes at the end of a Senedd term which has seen record funding in flood and coastal schemes.
“This has been a key priority for the Welsh Government throughout this term, and I am proud of the record we have in reducing the risk to communities across Wales from the devastating effects of flooding and coastal erosion.”