Finance Minister urged to invest in Towyn and Kinmel Bay flood defences

Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar has  called on the Welsh Finance Minister to invest in the flood defences in Towyn and Kinmel Bay.

Questioning the Minister, Rebecca Evans AM, on the Welsh Government’s Budget for 2020-21 in the Welsh Parliament yesterday, Darren emphasised the crucial need to improve the insufficient defences in Towyn and Kinmel Bay, which were devastated by floods 30 years ago.    

Speaking in the Senedd, Darren, who in November made the same plea to the First Minister when he warned that some residents are living in fear because of the inadequate defences, said:

“Thanks to the UK Government you've got an extra £600 million in the budget for 2020-21, compared to the previous financial year, and that gives you some great opportunities. One of those opportunities, of course, is to mitigate the impact of climate change, particularly around the coasts of Wales, which are at risk of flooding.

“Now, I do welcome the investment that has been made available for the Old Colwyn promenade in my constituency in recent months. It's not quite the amount that the local authority, Conwy County Borough Council, were looking for in order to do the proper job that is required in the longer term, but it at least will make some sort of difference to the flood risk in that particular community. But, of course, there are other parts of the north Wales coast that are also at risk, including in the Towyn and Kinmel Bay area, which, of course was devastated by floods 30 years ago this year. 

“Can I ask specifically what resources you've made available for flood defences in the Welsh Government's budget for 2020-2021, and whether any of that which has been allocated is going to go to shore up those defences in the Towyn and Kinmel Bay area, so that we can prevent the sort of devastation we saw 30 years ago?”

The Minister told Darren, that “additional funding has been found for next year to provide funding to support communities at particular danger in terms of climate change and flooding”  and that  “schemes that we support are clearly the ones where the evidence base says the most need is there”.

She added that she would “be happy to have conversations with Members if they have got particular concerns about areas within their own constituencies”.

Darren whose family home was hit by the Towyn floods on Monday, 26 February 1990,  added:  “I will certainly be taking the Minister up on her offer of a conversation so that I can emphasise to her further just how crucial it is that these insufficient flood defences in Towyn and Kinmel Bay are improved.   

“Next month we will be commemorating the anniversary of the devastating floods that occurred in that community and yet residents are still living in fear every time they receive a flood alert because of the vulnerability of flood defences along the coast.   

“Whilst we cannot prevent extreme weather conditions, we should be able to reduce risk of flooding to existing homes and businesses through a combination of flood defence improvements and efficient flood warning systems. The Welsh Government needs to take some leadership and use the additional cash it has wisely to ensure that those currently living in Towyn and Kinmel Bay never face the heartache that those whose homes were destroyed in 1990 did.”