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Swansea Council announces improved sea defences in Mumbles and wants to know your thoughts

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Swansea Council is launching the next phase in its consultation programme to upgrade sea defences to help protect Mumbles for the next century.

The project is being managed by council highways and transportation personnel.

Award-winning consultants, engineers and designers Amey Consulting – who have vast experience in coastal defence initiatives – have been enlisted to come up with designs to improve flood defences along the sea wall in the Swansea community. They’re working in conjunction with delivery partners JBA Consulting and LDA Design.

The existing sea defences were built more than a century ago as part of a Swansea and Mumbles Railway extension. They have withstood high tides and storms across many decades.

But now the council has secured funding for a scheme that will aim to protect the area from rising sea levels and high tides into the next century.

Artists impression of the proposed sea defences in Mumbles (Image: Swansea Council)

Amey have developed proposals following community engagement sessions held in November 2019.

Now, consultation will gather feedback on the initial design proposals. The three-week consultation – with people, businesses and organisations across Mumbles – will help inform what the project will look like on the ground, ahead of a formal planning application expected to be submitted this summer.

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Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said: “The existing sea defences have served Mumbles well over the last century or so – but they’re showing significant signs of wear and tear.

“On top of that we have to prepare for rising sea levels in the coming years. Our investigations show that around 80 properties along the seafront in Mumbles are at risk of flooding and that more than 120 will be threatened in the years ahead if we do nothing.

“We’ve recently seen the devastation that flooding has caused to families and businesses in Wales and we have to take action to avoid that here.

“The Prom at Mumbles is relatively low, and it’s a relatively common occurrence to experience sea water on the footway. During periods of high tides we install ‘stop logs’ across openings in the car park walls that are set back from the sea wall.

“The aim with any new sea defences is to be sensitive to Mumbles as a seaside visitor destination while protecting people and property.”

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He said that an initial community engagement process had shown there was recognition locally that the sea defences had to be upgraded and there was support for further consultation on what the defences would look like.

The new consultation will illustrate design options for enhancing the coastal protection measures and safeguarding the lowest-lying areas of Mumbles seafront along a 1.2km stretch from a point near Verdi’s restaurant to the Oystermouth Square car park.

No decisions have been made about what the final design will look like and none will be taken until community views from the latest consultation being managed by Amey Consulting and the council have been taken into account.

Apart from providing improved defences to protect the community, the process also offers the opportunity for the public to have their say on matters such as new seating, resurfacing and other environmental improvements. There’s also the chance to suggest ideas for the future look and use of key areas close to the sea wall; matters could include parking, active travel, landscaping, lighting and play.

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Lee Selway, of Amey Consulting, said: “Previous consultation on this project has demonstrated a high level of interest locally in the plans to deliver a scheme that will protect the community from flooding for many years to come.

“As well as coastal flood risk management, the scheme will seek to preserve and enhance the prom and the amenities on it.

“We are very keen to learn more about what local people think of the latest designs as part of this latest stage in the consultation process.”

More details about the consultation and the proposed designs for the sea wall can be found at www.swansea.gov.uk/mumblescoastalprotection

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)


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Pembrey & Burry Port

Pembrey Country Park most awarded Blue Flags in Wales

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Pembrey Country Park has won more Blue Flags than anywhere else in Wales.

Cefn Sidan has secured the prestigious Blue Flag status once again making it the most awarded Blue Flag site in Wales since 1988.

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It has won on consecutive years since 2009, apart from 2020 when the awards were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cefn Sidan was also the first Welsh beach to win the international accolade.

The Blue Flag award is only given to beaches, marinas and harbours that have the highest quality of water, environmental education and management, safety and services. It is an is an indication of a world class visiting experience and attraction site for local people and visitors to Carmarthenshire.

The popular tourist attraction has also won the Green Flag award for the last four years for its inspiring green space, having the highest possible standards, being beautifully maintained and boasting excellent visitor facilities.

Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John said: “I am delighted and proud that we continue to achieve these standards year on year. Pembrey Country Park and Cefn Sidan Beach is one of Wales’ top tourist attractions and has something to offer everyone. This award symbolises quality and provides assurances to visitors and tourists when looking for a place to visit.”

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(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Welsh Government

Independent review of floods announced to help Wales adapt to climate change

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An independent review of flooding events across Wales during the winter of 2020-21 has been launched, the Welsh Government has announced.

Led by one of the UK’s leading barristers, the review will help ensure Wales learns from previous flooding events and embeds good practice for the future.

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The review, which is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, will consider evidence from investigations carried out by local authorities and Natural Resources Wales, as well as other relevant reports.

Since Storm Dennis wreaked havoc across the country in February 2020, Wales has experienced a rapid increase in the frequency of storm and flood events than at any other time in recorded history.

Heavy rainfall and storms are likely to become more frequent as a result of climate change.

The Minister for Climate Change has appointed Professor Elwen Evans QC, one of the UK’s leading barristers, to lead the review.

Professor Evans will be tasked with establishing key findings, shared concerns, lessons learned, successes and good practice, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

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Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “The terrible flooding we have witnessed in Wales in recent years is a stark reminder of the challenges we face from climate change. These increasingly frequent, powerful weather events create widespread trauma, disruption and financial loss for families and businesses.

“We have put a thorough flood strategy in place and recently announced the largest ever package of investment to reduce flood risk across Wales, with more than £214m over the next three years to help protect at least 45,000 homes from flood risk.

“It is vital we learn from previous events to prepare us for the future, and I am delighted Professor Evans, who brings substantial experience and authority, has agreed to lead the independent review.”

Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian said: “We have seen the devastating impact flooding can have on our communities and businesses. Alongside taking action on climate change and ensuring Wales plays its part to tackle it, addressing flood prevention and learning from the devastating 2020-21 floods will make a difference to people’s safety and peace of mind across Wales.

“I have been working closely to develop the scope and approach to delivery of this important review as part of the Co-operation Agreement, and I look forward to the findings.”

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The announcement of the independent review follows the record £214m investment in flood risk as part of the Co-operation Agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, which will protect at least 45,000 homes.

This will support Flood Risk Management Authorities, accelerate the delivery of prevention schemes, and build resilience in the system as climate change intensifies.

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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