A new strategy has been launched to help reduce flood risks to communities and businesses across Wales.

The Welsh Government has today announced that the strategy aims to improve how to plan, prepare and adapt to climate change over the coming century.

Work will be taken over the next decade by organisations such as Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and water companies.

Minister for environment, energy and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths said she wants Wales to lead the way with the new strategy.

Ms Griffiths said: “I witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of the floods that affected over 3,000 homes and business across the country. As the likelihood of these extreme weather events rise, we need to strengthen our approach to managing flood and coastal risk and adapt to help keep people safe."

The Minister added: “I want the Strategy to spark conversation about how we manage flood risk. We are delivering more than ever in this space, with record levels of investment, but we cannot stop all flooding. I also recognise how this Strategy is being launched during uncertain times – not only due to the pressures posed by Covid-19, but also due to our ongoing response to recent flooding events.

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Between 2016 and 2021, the Welsh Government has invested £390million into helping manage flood risk, reducing risk to more than 45,000 properties across Wales.

Martin Buckle, chair of the committee said, “The flood events earlier in the year showed how the climate emergency is affecting ordinary people in communities and businesses across Wales, highlighting the urgency of strengthening our resilience.

“The new strategy also emphasises, with rising sea levels, the priority needed for long term planning and action in coastal areas, especially given the importance of the coast for our communities, businesses and the environment."

The Welsh Government said that the strategy looks wider than just the building of defences and reinforces how the country must manage flood and coastal risk through a range of interventions and actions. It also recognises flooding as an issue which affects all parts of society and one which requires a combined approach.

It outlines some of the lessons learnt from the flooding seen across Wales this year, and looks at the work carried out by the Welsh Government in recent years to tackle flood risk.

A key part of the strategy, the Welsh Government said, is ensuring that it does not make mistakes now which could lead to greater risk for future generations. The new strategy will help to prevent this by linking with new planning guidance due next year to ensure communities built in future are not put at avoidable risk.

The strategy also emphasises how risk will be better communicated, allowing households to understand their own risk, consider how they need to plan for flooding, and be involved from the start in discussions on how to manage the risks to their community.

Part of the new approach to improving how we communities about risk is the Wales Flood Map, which launched today.

The Wales Flood Map will bring all together all of our flood and coastal risk mapping in one place, starting with the new Flood Risk Assessment for Wales (FRAW). For the first time, this will show flood risk from all sources and incorporate coastal and asset information.

The FRAW Maps will be updated every six months so that people can see how flood schemes have reduced risk, helping bring down the cost of people’s insurance and providing peace of mind to those communities affected.