Ceredigion County Council has successfully obtained funding from the Welsh Government to proceed with the construction of the Aberaeron Coastal Defence Scheme.

The £31.59m scheme will be funded through a £26.85m contribution from the Welsh Government’s Coastal Risk Management Programme, together with a £4.74m contribution from Ceredigion County Council.

Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management commented: “The rising sea levels and storms pose a serious threat to our seaside town of Aberaeron. Implementing this scheme will improve the level of protection afforded to the many businesses and homes in the town and will preserve the unique and historical character of the area for future generations. I would like to personally thank officers, consultants and members for their diligence and hours of hard work over the last five years to produce a Coastal Defence Scheme fit for Aberaeron and I look forward to seeing the construction work begin.”

The development of the scheme has been undertaken over a period of 5 years by Council officers, working alongside consultant Engineers Atkins to produce a scheme which will look to:

  • protect the coastline from rising sea levels and storms
  • protect people and property from flooding
  • reassure stakeholders that measures are in place to prevent flooding and coastal erosion

Aberaeron has a dynamic coastline with a legacy of flooding and damage from storms, and with the onset of climate change and the predicted rises in sea levels these events are likely to increase in frequency and severity.

Works to protect Aberaeron from coastal flooding have previously included significant engineering works completed in 2009 at North Beach which included a raised sea wall, beach nourishment and shore control structures.

Those works have had a significant benefit in protecting the north-western part of the town from overtopping flood risk from the sea, but only addressed part of the flood risk problem.

Aberaeron is exposed to a wide range of wave conditions from the North-West and South-Westerly directions, with storm waves entering through the harbour entrance causing overtopping of the harbour walls and in extreme conditions overtopping the inner secondary wall.

Storms in December 2013, January 2014 and October 2017 led to the closure of Quay Parade and overtopping of the current defences within the harbour and south beach.

The scheme which has received the necessary planning, marine licence and other consents was consulted upon during the Autumn of 2020, and the five key elements of the Aberaeron Coastal Defence Scheme are:

  • Construction of a new rock breakwater extending out from the North Pier
  • Refurbishment and re-building of the pier-head of South Pier, including grouting repairs of the walls
  • Flood wall construction at the following locations:
    • Construction of a new masonry and glass wall along Quay Parade/Pen Cei, as well as grouting repairs of the existing quayside wall
    • Raising of the existing River Aeron flood wall between the rear of Y Seler and the A487
    • Construction of a new masonry and glass wall flood wall between Pwll Cam and Y Seler
  • Construction of a flood gate at Pwll Cam inner harbour.
  • Improvements to the existing defences on South Beach, to include:
    • Replacement of existing timber groynes
    • Replacement and extension of the existing rock revetment
    • Beach renourishment

The contractor appointed to undertake the construction works is BAM Nuttall Ltd, who successfully completed the Aberaeron North Beach works in 2009, and who also successfully delivered the first two phases of the Borth to Ynyslas Coastal Defence Scheme in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

County Councillor for Aberaeron and Aberarth, Elizabeth Evans, said “I am absolutely delighted that this scheme can now begin. My heartfelt thanks to Ceredigion officers for their absolute commitment in getting this scheme over the line. The residents and businesses of Aberaeron have been very patient and that is very much appreciated. Aberaeron’s future will now be secure, as a result of this funding from Welsh Government and Ceredigion Council. I couldn’t be happier. ”

Discussions will now take place between representatives of the Council, Atkins and BAM to finalise contract award and the construction programme for the works.

Further information regarding how the construction works will be phased and delivered will be shared with stakeholders in due course.