The past few weeks have seen stormy weather across Wales and one important lesson we have learned is that the Welsh Government cannot continue to pass the buck to councils when it comes to sea and flood defences.

From the flooding across our communities to pollution, climate and ecological breakdown are affecting us all.

Storm Arwen and Storm Barra have wreaked havoc along the northern coastline, with the impacted communities feeling forgotten about by Westminster and Cardiff Bay.


Wind gusts of 81mph (130km/h) were recorded last Saturday, leaving 30,000 people without power at one point in Wales. For most people, the north was only mentioned because of the cancellations of episodes of “I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here”, which is once again taking place at Gwrych Castle in Conwy County. What people do not realise is that along the Conwy coast there was a wide range of irreparable damage.

In my local town of Llanfairfechan, our coastal path has finally broken. On October 6th, there were a number of gaping cracks in the seawall and coastal path. Residents were understandably worried, and the council started to make some noise to try and look into the issue.

On November 30th, it was decided that urgent repair work would be carried out by the council at the Llanfairfechan coastal path, costing Conwy Council £275K. While Conwy is not responsible for the area of the coastal path, the public right of way was badly cracked and damaged in a storm on October 5th, causing a breach in the sea wall.


The owner of this part of the path near West Shore Road is unknown, and the land is unregistered, meaning it’s difficult to recover the costs. The council opted rightly to carry out the repairs and council officers would try to trace the landowners and attempt to recover the cost. It was acknowledged that if the work was not carried out, the size of the breach will worsen, increasing the cost of the repair work and threatening the Holyhead railway line and the A55.

Just under 2 months later, the arrival of Storm Barra and the slow departure of Storm Arwen caused the coastal flood defences to collapse. The weakened sea defences have crumbled and parts of the promenade have been closed off,before the council could even start to do any work. Most people feel that the council took too long to take action. Conwy Council are seeking funding from the Welsh Government to improve the coastal flood defences around the county coastline to face the challenge of climate change and future sea level rise.

There lies a major issue. With our county councils underfunded by a Welsh Government who refuse to devolve basic necessary powers to local government, how do we put power in the hands of local communities?

How can the Welsh Government, who are supposedly leading the fight on climate change policy, not give local councils the money to protect people from natural disasters? County councils are one step closer to our local communities, and beyond the south there is a view that funding will only be used closer to Cardiff.

It is a shame the Welsh Government are willing to turn a blind eye on funding flood and coastal defences while carrying on with vanity projects. This is leading to people losing faith in our councils and our Senedd, which I can understand.

Climate change is a postcode lottery, with some areas bearing the brunt of the elements. Time is running out to rebuild our flood and coastal defences as well as community trust.

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