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Storm Pierrick flooding could have been avoided – council official

21 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Conwy County Council’s coastal-defence plans for the 2.3 km stretch of coastline at Kinmel Bay

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Flooding caused by Storm Pierrick earlier this month could have been prevented, if defences which are at various stages of completion had been finished, according to a senior council official.

Speaking at an economy and place scrutiny committee meeting this week, Conwy council’s flood risk and infrastructure manager Owen Conry told councillors thousands of properties between Kinmel Bay and Llanfairfechan are at risk.

Mr Conry’s warning came after he introduced the council’s local flood risk management strategy.

The paper was approved after councillors heard how the authority is obliged to update its strategy on coastal protection in line with Welsh Government policy, as the last strategy was updated in 2013.

Conwy manages 73km of coastline and 23km of artificial sea defences, such as breakwaters and sea walls, that protect council-owned property, which include several ongoing coastal protection schemes funded by the Welsh Government.


The various multi-million-pound coastal protection schemes are at various points of construction – with schemes at Llanfairfechan currently going through the planning process and work to Kinmel Bay set to start this autumn.

But at the meeting at Bodlondeb, Mr Conry said flooding and damage caused by Storm Pierrick could have been avoided had the coastal work been completed.

Mr Conry was telling councillors Conwy had repeatedly successfully applied for Welsh Government funds for coastal protection.

But in his speech, he warned flooding could have been prevented had the coastal defences been ready.

“We have a lot of people in the area that are at flood risk,” he said.

“If you go from Kinmel Bay all the way to Llanfairfechan, we might have 60,000 people living there, and they are all at risk of flooding, as we unfortunately saw last week in Llanfairfechan, and the problem with those two schemes (Kinmel Bay and Llanfairfechan) was if it was this time next year, the schemes would have been built, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have had that problem at Llanfairfechan, and certainly the scheme in Kinmel Bay would have addressed that.”


Chairing the meeting, Cllr Mike Priestley thanked council staff for dealing with the storm, which he called ‘phenomenal’.

“I’ve seen reports on the news, pictures in the paper, pictures on social media, which were phenomenal high tides,” he said.

“It was the perfect storm, wasn’t it? In some areas I saw, where we had invested in infrastructure to protect properties, it stood up, and in some areas where we are waiting for construction and to get projects going is where it seemed to fail.”

He added, “It was quite a swift clean-up operation as well.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the strategy, which will now go to cabinet for approval.

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