A new study by the Met Office has raised fresh concerns about the risk of catastrophic flooding along the North Wales coast, according the boss of a firm planning a tidal lagoon which would help protect the area.

Experts say property worth £2 billion along the coastal belt stretching from Talacre to Llandudno is under threat of being swamped at some point in the future, unless extra sea defences are built.

North Wales Tidal Energy (NWTE) chairman Henry Dixon believes the £7 billion lagoon would provide the necessary protection for vulnerable homes, businesses, road and rail links, creating 20,000 jobs in the process.

Once up and running, it would pump 2.5 gigawatts of clean, renewable electricity into the National Grid every year - and provide power to over a million homes.

According to Mr Dixon, the new Met Office report highlighted the urgency of the situation.

They have forecast that by 2070 sea levels could rise by over a metre – inundating large swathes of the North Wales coastline.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: “Sea levels are projected to rise over the 21st century and beyond under all emission scenarios – meaning we can expect to see an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of extreme water levels around the UK coastline.”

The lagoon would extend for nearly 20 miles from the Great Orme to Point of Ayr at Talacre, just inland of the giant Gwynt y Môr windfarm and includes Towyn which was hit by devastating flooding in 1990 and Rhyl which has suffered flooding on many occasions, most recently in 2013.

NWTE commissioned a report by Ruthin-based flood risk experts Waterco earlier this year and it stated that the outer wall of the lagoon would act as a barrier to the rising tides and become the front line of the area’s flood defences.

Henry Dixon said: “We have always known the proposed lagoon would have coastal protection benefits and Waterco’s study underlines those benefits.

“In view of the Met Office report it is clear that North Wales’s existing coastal flood defences will have to be strengthened and raised in the face of rising sea levels due to climate change.

“Sea walls will need to be raised by at least a metre over the next 100 years and the cost to Welsh Government and Local Authorities will run to many hundreds of millions of pounds.”

Waterco Director Peter Jones said: “One of the benefits of the NWTE proposal will be to reduce that public cost as the outer bank of the lagoon will be high enough to immediately become the main line of defence and also absorb wave energy.

“We expect that this will significantly reduce flood risk to huge numbers of properties along the coastline. The proposed lagoon will be a great relief to those living in properties blighted by coastal flooding.”

NWTE also believe the lagoon could boost development by releasing large areas of land along the North Wales coast for much-needed housing where planners are currently caught in a ‘catch 22’ situation.

They have to ensure that new development will be safe for the next 100 years while remaining unsure whether sea defenses will be strengthened as there is presently no guarantee this will happen.

Henry Dixon added: “The sea wall which would house the turbines and enclose the lagoon would have relatively little visual impact on a coast which already has the world’s fourth largest offshore windfarm, Gwynt y Môr.

“While much of the focus on tidal lagoons and other renewables sources is on the amount of energy they produce it is also likely to become increasingly important that they provide a first line of defence against rising sea levels caused by global warming.

“The little known but important, Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act challenges us to consider the future now, on the basis that prosperity, resilience, health, equality, cohesive communities and culture are all important.

“The lagoon would also provide us with a reliable local energy supply that is secure, has minimal visual impact and is not dependent on imports from other parts of the world and free from the waste risk that nuclear energy involves.”

For more on NWTE go to https://www.northwalestidalenergy.com/ and for more on Waterco go to www.waterco.co.uk