Long way to go on sea defence plans
by Antony Gedge
MULTI-million pound plans for new sea defences at Borth have a long way to go before the scheme is finalised, Ceredigion Council has warned.
The first phase of plans, which include new rock groynes and breakwaters as well as a multi-purpose artificial reef which could provide boosted surfing conditions, were backed by the council’s planning committee who gave the director of environmental services the power to approve the scheme if he approves final assessments and consultation responses.
And while local councillor Ray Quant welcomed the backing from the planning committee he warned there was still a lot to do to get the much needed new defences in place.
Cllr Quant, who has been involved with this scheme since 2001, declared an interest at the planning meeting and took no part in discussions. But after the meeting he said there was a long way to go. He said: “Despite all the work that has been undertaken, there are still important decisions to be taken by the council’s Cabinet, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh European Funding Office, which will be based on the outcome of the planning process which still has to be completed and the contract price as to whether or not we seek Ministerial permission to proceed with the scheme when full construction is expected to start in October.”
The Council is expected to announce the contractor that has won the tender to carry out the work within the next few weeks.
A council spokesperson said the scheme was expected to protect Borth for decades, but admitted that it was only one aspect of coastal and flood protection.
They said: “the scheme is designed to help manage the risks along the length of the Borth and Ynyslas frontage over the next 20 to 50 years. That is consistent with the existing Shoreline Management Plan policies of ‘holding the line’ along these stretches of coast.
“The scheme alone will not eliminate the risks from flooding and erosion.
“Other community resilience actions to help the community adapt to climate change and reduce the impacts of flooding and erosion to the people and environment of Borth will also be needed.
“A long-term strategy for the whole Borth to Ynyslas frontage will need to be considered. These other actions are part of WAG’s New Approaches programme towards managing all sources of flooding in Wales and the development of the Shoreline Management Plan review.”
The first phase of the work needs to be completed within the next year to make use of European funding.
And while there has been criticism of the scheme from some residents who say the length of time needed to complete the work will limit access to the beach and the appearance of the rock groynes, Cllr Quant said there was still strong support in the village for the scheme.
He said: “There have been a number of community public meetings and exhibitions and I have no doubt that the community of Borth are well aware of the importance of achieving a replacement coastal defence scheme.”
Article courtesy of Cambrian News: www.cambrian-news.co.uk
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