£10m north Wales tidal flood defences open

Waves crashing over sea wall at Tywyn, Gwynedd (Pic: Simon Robinson)
Image caption Waves have damaged sea walls at Tywyn, Gwynedd, twice in the last decade

£10m of flood defences in Gwynedd and Denbighshire have been opened by Environment Minister Jane Davidson.

Work on sea defences at Tywyn in south Gwynedd cost £7.6m and will protect about 75 homes.

Tidal flood improvements have also been completed on the River Clwyd at Rhyl.

The £2m scheme will protect more than 1,000 properties, and also help prevent the devastating floods that hit nearby Towyn and Kinmel Bay in 1990.

Work on the River Clwyd has concentrated on raising river banks which have slowly sunk over the last two decades.

The earthworks should prevent a catastrophic breach of the river, which would threaten an estimated 1,150 homes in Rhyl and in Kinmel Bay in neighbouring Conwy.

Breached defences

Meic Davies from Environment Agency Wales said: "The area is at significant risk from tidal flooding and this project has helped to reduce the danger caused by the embankments sinking into the peat.

"It will provide the area with greater protection for the next 10 -15 years. However, climate change, rising sea levels and continued sinking of the new banks mean this can only be a temporary measure."

The Tywyn schemes in Gwynedd were put in place following a series of floods when the sea breached defences.

Promenade slabs in the sea walls were undermined in storms during both 2004 and 2007.

Gwynedd council's environment portfolio leader Arwel Pierce said 75 properties would be protected by the scheme.

Image caption Over the last two decades banks of the River Clwyd at Rhyl have sunk into the sand

"If the sea defence work would not have been done and if the properties were flooded the cost of repair would be at least £18m," he added.

Officially opening the two schemes on Thursday, Ms Davidson said she was pleased to see that Environment Agency Wales has "risen to the challenge of making sure that the defences are up to the job that they are expected to do".

"As an assembly government we recognise the importance of flood risk management and we have more than trebled investment in flood and coastal erosion risk in Wales since 1999 and secured almost £50m in European structural funds towards flood and coastal erosion risk management projects."

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