PARTS of Gwent will be under further scrutiny for future planning applications – after Natural Resources Wales published a map showing the areas most at risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

The map shows that most of Newport – including Newport city centre - and reaching past Caldicot and towards Chepstow – is at risk of flooding by the sea. The green marks this area out.

Part of Newport – around Cleppa Park – is also in a sea flood zone, represented by a light blue area.

The coast from Chepstow and down past Newport is also at risk of coastal erosion, which is visible on the map by a red line.

Oldbury Sands and Sheperdine Sands just outside Chepstow are at risk of flooding from reservoirs. The areas are visible on the map with a light green. The mouth of the river Wye and the river itself is also at risk of this. Caldicot is also at risk of flooding from reservoirs.

Usk, Caerleon, Cwmbran, Caerphilly, Ystrad Mynach, Blackwood, Newbridge and Abercarn are also at risk. As are Ebbw Vale, Rhymney, Tredegar, Nantyglo, Blaina, Abergavenny and Usk.

Dark blue shows the flood risk for rivers in Zone 3 and light blue for Zone 2 (Zone 3 is a higher risk than Zone 2). Large areas at risk here are numerous parts of Newport, Caldicot, Chepstow, Monmouth, Usk, Abergavenny, Cwmbran, Caerleon, Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly and Risca.

Purple areas are places at risk of flooding from small watercourses at level 3 and pink areas cover level 2. These include areas of Pontypool, Ty Sign, Newport, Usk, Caerleon, Newbridge, Treharris, Abersychan, Blaenavon, Ebbw Vale, Brynmawr and Nantyglo.

A large part of Newport comess under a defence zone called TAN15 Defended Zones, which is highlighted on the map by the black box with diagonal lines inside. This shows that the area has strong defences from flood risks from the sea.

The area around Risca, Pontymister and Wattsville also comes under the TAN15 Defended Zones with the black box with alternative diagonal lines showing that this shows there are strong defences from the River Ebbw.

Ponthir, Llanyrafon, Tirphill, Pen-pedair-heol, parts of Llanbradach, Trethomas, Machen and a small area of Chepstow, Cwmbran and Monmouth also have a strong defence zone for rivers.


What does this mean?

The publication of the map means that any future development in Wales has to take into account the flooding and coastal erosion risk caused by climate change.

Developers will have to work with the map under the Technical Advice Note 15 (TAN 15) which will inform plans for local development and decisions on planning applications in the areas at risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

Julie James, Welsh Government climate change minister, said: “Flood risk and coastal erosion in Wales is increasing as a result of climate change.

“Serious flooding events are becoming more frequent and some areas currently at little risk will become vulnerable to flooding as out climate continues to change.

“As the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales recognises, the planning system can help communities be more resilient to the effects of climate change by locating development in areas away from risk of flooding.

“Improved knowledge of the places which will be at risk in the future can help keep people safe, by preventing the damage and disruption to homes, workplaces and infrastructure that flooding can cause.”

New developments of homes, emergency services, schools and hospitals must not be located in areas of high flood risk without strong flood defences, says the new TAN 15 guidelines.

Welsh Ministers will be notified if local planning authorities are planning to approve a scheme against this advice and will be able to directly make a decision on the application.

How will the map work?

The flood map for planning shows four types of flood zone, which each have specific advice for proposed developments.

They are based on current risk levels with allowances for climate change. Allowing for planning decisions to take account of the expected impact of climate change on flood risk in the future.

The map is published by Natural Resources Wales and will be updated in May and November each year.

There are acceptability tests for development in areas of low risk and areas protected by strong flood defences, and for the less vulnerable developments in areas at high risk of flooding.

The tests include providing justification for the location, being on brownfield land and being resilient in the event of a flood.

The new TAN 15 and the map will come into force on Wednesday, December 1 but have been published today to allow planning authorities and developers to prepare. After December 1, all planning applications will be assessed against these.

All local development plans under review and have not reached the formal examination stage must use the advice and map after December 1.

You can view the map here