The £7m Riverside Flood Scheme, which has been built as a result of £4.4m of Welsh Government funding and £2.6m from the European Regional Development Fund, will provide flood protection to 420 homes and businesses in the Riverside area of Newport.
The new scheme, which was managed by the Environment Agency, was developed after Riverside’s existing flood defences showed signs of failure. Indeed modelling suggested that had one of the walls, which was identified as being in particularly poor condition, failed there would have been a 50% chance of the area flooding on an annual basis.
Speaking ahead of the opening, the Minister said:
"I am delighted to open this flood defence scheme which will help to reduce flood risk and provide peace of mind for 420 householders and businesses in the Riverside area of Newport.
"The opening of this scheme is all the more poignant as it closely follows the recent events in West Wales which reminded us all just how devastating the effects of flooding can be.
"Here in Wales one in six properties is at risk of flooding. Although we can never totally prevent flooding, the Welsh Government is committed to making Wales more resilient to this problem.
"The Riverside scheme is part of a £100 million programme of work that is supported by almost £50 million from the European Regional Development Fund. This investment demonstrates our commitment to help protect communities, just like this one here in Newport, and to proactively manage the risks they face."
Gareth O’Shea from Environment Agency Wales said:
"I’d like to thank local people for their support over the last twelve months as the works have taken place – in some places very close to people’s homes and gardens.
"This is an important scheme for people living with the threat of flooding in Riverside, and it is the final link in protecting the east bank of Newport from the River Usk.
"We can’t always prevent flooding from happening, but we can help reduce the likelihood of it happening. This scheme will certainly reduce the risk for the residents of Newport."
Earlier this year the Welsh Government launched its National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management which seeks to raise awareness of flooding, reduce its consequence, improve response levels and prioritise investment.
The Riverside flood defence has been designed to last. If necessary flood walls can be raised further and should withstand climate change related risk for the next 100 years.