WELSH Government will not be using the coastal risk management programme to provide a flood defence solution for Llandudno, which includes the return of sand to the town’s North Shore beach.

Conwy County Borough Council’s cabinet has agreed to support a non-sand option for North Shore.

Welsh Government has approved the council’s funding application for a detailed design of the non-sand option.


Outline Business Case approved for improvements at Llandudno’s North and West Shores

Welsh Government block return of sand to Llandudno’s North Shore beach

Julie James MS, minister for climate change, said: “Welsh Government have recently awarded grant funding to Conwy County Borough Council to develop a full business case for Llandudno, based on maintaining and improving the existing cobble defence on the North Shore.

“The alternative sand option provides no additional flood benefit, at a much greater cost to the coastal risk management programme, and that's the problem.

“The coastal risk management programme is for coastal risk management; it's not for tourist attractions and other aesthetic value.

“I'm not denying the value of that; I'm just saying that's not what the programme is for.

“So, if Conwy County Borough Council want to get an alternative sand option at Llandudno north shore, they really need to look for alternative sources of funding.

“There are some other sources of funding available, but, in all conscience, I cannot take a coastal management programme that's specifically designed to protect places from flooding and use it for a completely different purpose”.

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Janet Finch-Saunders, Aberconwy MS, had championed the return of sand to North Shore.

She said: “It is clear to me that the return of sand to North Shore has not been successful because it is not the most cost-effective option in the short term.

“However, over several years, decades, it would bring a huge economic boost to the town, and whole region.

“Whilst the Welsh Government really should give consideration to the long-term impact of flood defence investment on future generations, a clear message has been sent that it is up to Conwy County Borough Council to find alternative sources of funding.

“The boulders should never have been put on our beach in the first place, and now we face the risk of even more being dumped. I urge the local authority to reconsider their plans.”

Nigel Treacy, chair of the Llandudno Coastal Forum, issued a statement on behalf of the organisation.

He said: "Following eight years, 45 meetings, four public consultations and a professionally-commissioned environmental study, the forum concluded and unanimously agreed to recommend a preferred option for the removal of the cobble and replenishment of sand on the North Shore.

"This was communicated to Welsh Government in 2021 in an outline business case, which was supported in June 2021 by Conwy County Borough Council.

"By 2022, the Welsh Government Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management branch advised Conwy officers to focus on the cheaper option which focused on maintaining the existing cobble at North Shore.

"The forum was advised that the amenity value of a ‘sand’ option is not economically viable at present.

"In summary, whilst the coastal forum has clearly identified sand as the preferred long-term option, the funding for this project comes from the Welsh Government Flood Risk pot.

"As such, Conwy County Borough Council will continue with the replenishment of coble, as advised by Welsh Government.

"In November 2022, the coastal forum reconvened an emergency meeting and requested that Conwy County Borough Council develops an argument that considers the economic, environmental and cultural impact of the sand option.

"In addition, that leadership also looks for additional funding to support the more expensive sand option for North Shore. We are awaiting a response."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our flood risk management budget aims to reduce risk to life and property and there are a number of key things we consider before approving funding.

“These include the level of flood protection afforded to the community, associated environmental and carbon impacts and value for money.

“We consider the cost effectiveness of every business case and prioritise funding accordingly – this allows us to distribute investment fairly across the communities that are at risk of flooding.”