“Tidal Lagoons” have progressed from concept to the first project planning stage. Here in North Wales the opportunity exists to link flood defences with tidal energy in impoundment projects to transform the socio-economics of what are substantially deprived coastal areas currently at risk of flooding and to achieve this with renewable energy, attractive infrastructure for enhanced tourism prospects and local business development.
The north Wales coast has a large tidal range, seen above near Rhyl the 8m+ range is both the threat of flooding and the opportunity for tidal energy. Sandy beaches are a traditional feature though somewhat lost in places due to coastal flood protection measures. Climate change bringing less predictable and more extreme weather and rising sea levels adds to flood risk particularly where coastal communities are established close to current sea levels. December 2013 floods triggered further coastal defences but the extreme nature of storm surge events and the small zones un-connected flood defences do little to substantially alleviate flood risk and its association with deprivation.
Historically flood events in the region are followed by some form of flood defence reinstatement but we are experiencing more extreme storm surge and fluvial flooding events due in part to climate change and we are compelled to achieve 2050 carbon emission reductions while energy security is a national priority making tidal impoundments both an imperative and an opportunity.
The river Clwyd empties into the sea at Rhyl and this can bring flood waters from inland to coincide with storm surge conditions; an indication of the speed and scale of change can be seen in the sequence above where un-maintained embankment vegetation helped to block the river at St Asaph. This water then flows to Rhyl.
Porth Eirias and Parc Eirias examples of Conwy major projects management and appropriate attention to infrastructure, communities, commerce and tourism.