Give Old Colwyn the flood defences it so desperately needs

For years I have been calling on the Welsh Government to take action to improve the sea defences in Old Colwyn before a serious incident occurs.

The promenade has been pummelled by storms year after year and recently it received a further battering from Storm Eleanor – and I am sure this won’t be the last before the winter is out.

While improvements to flood defences in the Bay of Colwyn have been made as part of a major waterfront investment, Old Colwyn's defences, which help to protect the A55 trunk road and the Chester to Holyhead railway line, remain vulnerable.

Each time we experience extreme weather conditions people are living in fear and understandably so. Lives could so easily be lost unless work is undertaken to strengthen the flood defences and make the promenade more resilient.

Years of erosion have taken their toll and it is essential that the Welsh Government takes the lead to bring forward a flood defence improvement scheme to ensure that our critical infrastructure gets the protection it needs.

It does not make sense to improve one stretch of the waterfront but leave another to deteriorate.

The stretch of coastline consists of a narrow promenade, which is maintained by Conwy County Borough Council, with the railway embankment immediately behind, and the main A55 road beyond it. A Welsh Water storm drain also runs under the promenade

But in spite of the Council's best efforts they have been unable to secure the investment needed to upgrade the promenade or to secure appropriate input from Network Rail and Welsh Water to agree a way forward.

Last July I called on the First Minister to “step up to the plate” and ensure work is done as a matter of priority. I said “the Welsh Government must show leadership and take action to improve the defences before it is too late”.

It must work with all parties, including Network Rail, Conwy County Borough Council, Welsh Water and others, to address flood risk in Old Colwyn.

Every storm takes its toll on the promenade and without action It is just a matter of time before we see a serious incident like a loss of life or even some of the railway embankment coming down which would cause absolute havoc.

It's essential that some work is done in Old Colwyn and I don’t just means repairs, a fundamental upgrade is needed to bring it up to standard so that people can be protected from the sea.

Let’s hope 2018 is the year in which the Welsh Government finally acts and Old Colwyn is given the flood defences it so desperately needs.