Environment Minister, John Griffiths has opened a flood defence scheme at Borth, Ceredigion, which will protect 420 homes and businesses as well as the Cambrian Coast railway.
The new scheme includes a rock reef to not only improve protection but also enhance its growing reputation as a tourist destination for surfers.
Because of its location directly on the seafront, Borth has a history of coastal flooding. The proximity of the community to the sea means that a severe storm could have devastating consequences on the village and its rich history.
Construction works have included replacement of the old timber defences, the construction of the defence/surfing reef, two rock breakwaters, two rock groynes and importing thousands of tonnes of shingle to build up the natural shingle banks.
The scheme has been jointly funded by the Welsh Government (£7.5m) and the European Regional Development Fund (£5.49m) and Ceredigion County Council (£0.16m)
The Minister said:“This coastal defence scheme has given us the opportunity to enhance the environment and amenities of this area. By adapting the design of the reef to improve surfing conditions the scheme has also ensured a real boost to the tourism industry and local economy. This will be of particular interest to the many keen surfers that come to Borth each year.
“As well as the reduced risk of flooding and support to local tourism sites, this scheme will also benefit the community of Borth. This has been achieved by raising community awareness of the risk of flooding and highlighting the simple actions that can be taken to make homes more resilient. These actions include signing up to the free Flood Warnings Direct service offered by the Environment Agency. We cannot stop all flooding, and coastal communities need to remain vigilant as the risk of flooding is forecast to increase.
“The Welsh Government priorities are to reduce the consequences of flooding, raise awareness of flooding, to respond effectively to flooding and to prioritise our investments.
“Borth is an excellent example of an area where our investment has been prioritised to reduce risk to a vulnerable community.”
Investing in flood and coastal erosion risk management across Wales is a Programme for Government key action for creating sustainable places for people in Wales.