Further storm defence improvements needed, says report

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Media captionRepair work in some of the worst affected areas has already begun

Further work is needed to improve Wales' resilience to storms if the challenge of extreme weather is to be met, a report has said.

Severe weather this year had "seriously tested" coastal defences, said the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) review.

It highlighted six priority areas of improvement including investment, community support, and developing local flood plans.

Repair work in some of the worst affected areas has already begun.

The six priority areas included:

  • Investment in coastal flood and erosion risk management
  • Improved information on coastal flood defence and erosion management systems
  • More support to communities to help them become more self-sufficient and resilient

A previous report released earlier this year assessing the damage caused by the worst storms in decades showed the vast majority of Wales' defences and the emergency responses had performed well.

But the latest review, commissioned by the Welsh government, said important work to further improve Wales' resilience to storms was needed if the country was to meet the challenge of extreme weather expected in future.

It made 47 recommendations including that the Welsh government invests more on flood forecasting and on responses to floods and defences.

It also called for an open debate on which areas could be defended in the long term, as well as those which may not be able to be protected from the sea.

Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies said: "Scientific evidence suggests that these sorts of weather events will only become more frequent, so it is vital that we keep working to improve not only the resilience of our coast but also our response to severe weather incidents when they occur."

Since the winter storms more than £10m has been given by the Welsh government for repair work.

But Jeremy Parr from NRW said three times as much money needs to be invested annually in flood protection than two years ago.

He added: "In plain money terms it was about £45m a year that was being invested. That needs to treble to £135m in order to manage the situation that we've got at the moment."

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