PREPARATORY work is underway on a major flood alleviation scheme in Bangor amid fears that defending parts of the city will become “increasingly challenging” unless action is taken.
This follows modelling showing that beyond 2050 there will be “large-scale changes to the local flood regime” in Hirael, with Gwynedd Council now preparing the design for a coastal flood alleviation scheme.
Having been earmarked Welsh Government funding, the initial ground investigation work is starting this week and involves the use of a small drilling rig to gain a better understanding of ground conditions in the area.
According to designers, initial flood modelling shows that around 47 properties in the area would be at risk of flooding if a “one in 200 years” flood event were to occur today.
But factoring in sea level rises by 2055, this number could rise to 267 properties which include 17 commercial businesses.
The lower part of Hirael, close to Beach Road, has historically been vulnerable to coastal flooding – a risk that officers fear will only increase as a result of climate change and sea-level rise.
Beach Road suffered severe flooding in both 1923 and 1973, but despite major works in 2018 further mitigation measures are likely to be needed with a rise of 12-13cm having already been noted between 1991 and 2015.
The project, which is currently at the planning stage, is likely to involve a new flood wall along the frontage at Hirael Bay with any works likely to require significant Welsh Government funding once a design has been established.
Councillor Catrin Wager, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member said that the ground investigation work will allow engineers to better understand the conditions so that the wall’s foundations can be designed.< “We are well aware of the real risk that climate change poses to coastal communities like Hirael,” she said. “As a Council, we have held various drop-in events over the years to discuss the Hirael Coastal Defence Project. “The work that will be carried out over the coming weeks will play an important part in allowing our specialist officers to consider the best options for the proposed new flood alleviation scheme in Hirael. “Every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum and we’d like to thank the public for their patience while this essential engineering work takes place.” During the work, which will last until March, resulting noise from the drilling means it will be limited to daylight hours only. Local footpath diversions are likely to be required for parts of the work near Beach Road carpark and King George Playing fields. It is also likely that Glandwr Road, between Y Bae estate and Garth Road, may need to be shut to traffic for a short time. For further information, visit http://hirael.ygc.cymru or search for the “Hirael Flood Protection Scheme” Facebook page.