The public’s views are sought on a coastal defence scheme for Aberaeron.
Aberaeron has a dynamic coastline with a legacy of flooding and damage from storms. These events continue today and with the onset of climate change and the predicted rises in sea levels these events are likely to increase in frequency and severity. Aberaeron is exposed to a wide range of wave conditions from the North-West and South-Westerly directions; with storm waves entering through the harbour entrance causing overtopping of the harbour walls and in extreme conditions overtopping the inner secondary wall.
Ceredigion County Council along with the Welsh Government are committed to protecting the town. The Welsh Government have provided funding to design a scheme that will prevent the surrounding area suffering from future storms. It is predicted that 168 properties will be at risk of flooding by 2111 if nothing is done. The Council has engaged Atkins Consultants to design such a scheme.
The main aims are to protect the coastline from rising sea levels and storms; to protect people and property from flooding and to reassure residents and businesses that measures are in place to prevent flooding and coastal erosion. Opportunities for improved facilities, connectivity, investment and the re-design of open space within the harbour will be provided within the scheme and it will also enable other investment opportunities to be investigated.
The Council is undertaking a public consultation which will allow residents and visitors to provide their views on the scheme. Further information on the proposals which will include changes to South Pier, an extension to North Pier and the introduction of flood defence walls around the harbour areas are provided below.
Feedback received will be taken into account during any detailed design for the scheme.
The consultation will be open from 22 September 2020 until 20 October 2020
Why does Aberaeron need a coastal/flood defence scheme?
Over time, climate change will result in increases in still water levels by approximately 1m which will be accompanied by increased storminess, we now see storms happening more frequently and Quay Parade has suffered numerous breaches over recent years.
The existing wall within the harbour provides a very low standard of protection of less than 1 in 1 against, which means that there is already a risk of it being overtopped at least once every year, the likelihood of these events happening will increase with climate change.
How will the breakwater prevent flooding?
The rock breakwater will provide shelter to the harbour entrance and will break the incoming waves, taking the energy out of these waves, which in turn will reduce the height of the waves entering the harbour, reducing the risk of overtopping and flooding.
Why are the walls being raised, wouldn’t the breakwater stop the flooding?
While the breakwater will reduce the wave heights within the harbour and address the overtopping risk, the town will still be at risk of still water flooding due to the estimated future 1m sea level rise as a result of climate change. In the future, even a normal high spring tide will be above the existing wall level resulting in flooding.
Why impound water in the harbour?
Aberaeron Town and its Harbour are important to the economic wellbeing of the County. The iconic images of Aberaeron Harbour are those which show the boats floating in the harbour, and by allowing water to be held within the harbour those images would become a permanent feature of the Town, enabling opportunities to increase.
What about the environmental impacts of the scheme?
We are undertaking desktop studies and detailed surveys to collect information to fully understand the environmental and heritage aspects which will be included in the Environmental Impact Assessment process of the scheme. Our proposals are being developed to ensure that the right solution is selected for the town to reduce the risk of flooding but also having minimal impact on the environment etc.
When is work planned to start?
Obviously, the construction works cannot start until we have support for the scheme and we have all necessary consents in place, which will need to cover the planning, marine consents and listed building aspects, but at present we are hoping that construction could start around mid-2021.
How long will the works take to complete?
If the works commence as planned it is hoped the works will be complete by the summer of 2022, but this will be dependent on the successful contractor’s method of working, weather etc.
Who is paying for the work?
Funding for both the detailed design and construction phases have been agreed with Welsh Government under their Coastal Risk Management Programme, which will mean that the works will be jointly funded between Ceredigion County Council and the Welsh Government.