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Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change and Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd

First published:
25 October 2023
Last updated:

As Wales contends with the growing impacts of climate change and the devastation flooding can inflict, the need to reduce risk to communities now and into the future is more apparent. To address these significant challenges our Programme for Government committed to delivering nature-based flood management solutions across all major river catchments.

Today, we are very pleased to announce the launch of the Natural Flood Management Accelerator Programme. The programme is a 2-year £4.6 million investment which will further expand our commitment to working collaboratively with Welsh farmers, landowners and third sector organisations across Wales. This scheme will build upon our learning from previous successful projects and bring together multiple innovative solutions to develop nature-based solutions through our rural catchments.  The programme is funding 23 projects, across 8 different Authority areas and will enhance our natural environment, expand wetland and woodland habitats, and reduce flood risk to up to 2,000 properties, bolstering the number of NFM schemes across Wales and putting us well on track to deliver our Programme for Government Commitment by 2026.

Developing and delivering wider nature-based sustainable solutions to reduce flood risk is critical to protecting and enhancing our environment, homes, and communities.

The recent work undertaken in the Wnion catchment scheme is an excellent example of collaboration between Snowdonia National Park Authority and with Gwynedd Council. This project shows what can be achieved via sustainable land management actions such as restoring wetlands and peatlands, planting trees, bank stabilization and restoring rivers, with all measures already helping to reduce the risk of flooding. Within the Wnion catchment, properties in the villages of Rhydymain and the town of Dolgellau will benefit from reduced flood risk and increased standard of protection of the NRW Flood Defence. Additionally, these actions are all contributing to our goals of improving biodiversity, increasing carbon capture, and reducing pollution, all vital for the sustainable management of our natural resources and growth for future generations.

With the support of farmers, foresters, land managers and food businesses we can develop the rural economy and our natural environment in a sustainable way. This will further enhance our knowledge and experience in delivering co-ordinated collaborative projects within known flood prone areas. Through continued delivery and knowledge gained from schemes like this, we are also reducing instances of pollution, reducing surface water runoff and encouraging new methods to adapting to a changing climate.

We all recognise the need to be more collaborative in our thinking whilst exploring and encouraging new ways of working that will deliver at pace and scale. This investment will allow Risk Management Authorities and local communities to lead on projects and reduce the risk of flooding within their area.