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Information regarding the coastal defence of Fairbourne.

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First published:
26 April 2022
Last updated:


30 May 2022



Complaint in respect of Request for Information – reference ATISN 16194 (Fairbourne)

Thank you for providing clarification on your request to internally review ATISN 16194 (Fairbourne).  You clarified that you wanted a review of the information provided to your question below:

I ask again, Welsh Government provided funding to Gwynedd Council for a report called the technical overview report. Have Welsh Government reviewed this document if so did they raise any concerns and if not, why has a review not taken place ? Surely Welsh Government is required to check that what is funded has been achieved, or do Welsh Government payout funding for reports without checking the report?

I have reviewed this request and have found the FOI process has been followed correctly.  The information you are requesting is not held by the Welsh Government. 

Any assessment or review of the technical overview report is to be carried out by Gwynedd council as the Risk Management Authority.  While the Welsh Government sets national strategy and policy to inform local decision making, supported through our investment programmes, Welsh Government has no formal role in reviewing Gwynedd County Council’s coastal policy. 

Local authorities are responsible for and best placed to set the policies for future management of the coastline and implementing these. The Welsh Government has not made a decision to stop funding defences at Fairbourne or set a timetable for doing so, and to offer some reassurance, a policy of Managed Realignment, such as the case in Fairbourne, does not mean the withdrawal of support.

As this is information is owned, managed and published by Gwynedd Council. You may want to contact Gwynedd Council to make an FOI request at:


By Post: Senior Statutory Data Protection Officer, Council Office, Shirehall Street, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SH

The Flood Team within Welsh Government have liaised internally with appraisal & programme team and sufficient evidence was provided to support the funding of this report. It is content; however, is for the LAs to use in future decision making.

If you remain dissatisfied with this response you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner at: 

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Tel: 01625 545 745
Fax: 01625 524 510


Also, if you think that there has been maladministration in dealing with your request, you have the option to make a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales who can be contacted at:

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales 
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae 
CF35 5LJ 

Telephone: 0845 6010987 (local rate) 

Yours Sincerely

Senior Policy Advisor



20 April 2022



Information requested – Fairbourne

Atisn 16194

Thank you for your request which I received on 23 March 2022. 

You asked for:

  1. Information and calculations pertaining to the Fairbourne Project regarding its assessment of economic viability
  1. Information on whether any projects across the whole of Welsh Government, have been funded, where the Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) is as close to 1 as is the Fairbourne Project

Our response

Following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you require for point 1 is not held by the Welsh Government. This is information owned, managed and published by Gwynedd Council. 

You may contact Gwynedd Council to make an FOI request at:


By Post: Senior Statutory Data Protection Officer, Council Office, Shirehall Street, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SH

For point 2, We don’t hold the business case you are referring to, so would need to interpret this request as a request that we locate all BCRs on all projects in Welsh Government projects, where the BCR is between your stated 0.98 and less than or equal to 1.

As you do not specify a date, this task requires us to locate all BCRs made in Welsh Government across all divisions since its inception.

From my preliminary assessment, I estimate that it will cost more than the appropriate limit set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 to answer your request.  The appropriate limit specified for central government is £600. This represents the estimated cost of it taking over 24 hours of time to determine whether we hold the information and to thereafter locate, retrieve and extract it. 

There are 8 departments across Welsh Government, each department having up to 13 directorates and each directorate being further split into policy divisions. Every policy division would need to be individually contacted to ask if they held information in scope. The task in just one policy division would involve them reviewing electronic and paper files on all schemes for which BCRs have been undertaken. In just one policy division, that runs a variety of grant schemes we understand that anywhere up to 100 individual files would need to be reviewed just to locate information in scope. Each file has multiple records that must be read and understood. This is a manual process and the policy division indicated that for their division alone, they believed that 30 minutes per file was required to review all relevant records.

Repeated over the 100 files of the policy division suggests that 50 hours work may be required just to review the information in that division. This alone would exceed the appropriate limit and would need to be repeated across all Welsh Government divisions.

In any case, in my view this task could not provide an accurate reflection of viability either, as scoring systems are likely to vary across departments and policy divisions, and each case needs to be appraised on its own merit. As we do not hold the Fairbourne Project information, no true comparison could be made.

Consequently, I have decided not to provide you with the information you have requested. 

You may wish to refine your request by narrowing its scope by being more specific about what information you particularly wish to obtain, including any dates or period of time relevant to the information requiredIf you do refine your request in this way, this will be treated as a new request.

Next steps

If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response.  Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:

Information Rights Unit, 
Welsh Government, 
Cathays Park, 
CF10 3NQ 

or Email:

Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.   

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 

Information Commissioner’s Office, 
Wycliffe House, 
Water Lane, 
SK9 5AF.

However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.

Yours sincerely