Wales Flood Map updates go live

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has launched an update to its online flood mapping service that looks to bring relevant and accurate flooding data to the people of Wales.

The new data, which was collected between 2017 and 2019, can now be used to plan for flooding incidents and develop flood management plans across the country.

The flood mapping tool is already widely used by the insurance industry, risk management authorities, Welsh Government and the general public to help protect over 240,000 properties that are at risk of flooding in Wales, 1 in every 8 in the country.

The last update of this kind was done in 2013 but as both natural and man-made changes affect how Wales’ environment responds to extreme weather, more up to date information is needed to keep the map accurate.

The map considers the risk of flooding from rivers, surface water, the sea and smaller watercourses to categorise locations into high, medium and low areas of risk. It also displays extra information, such as flood defence locations and the local benefits they bring.

This data can then be used to predict the cost effectiveness of flood prevention schemes, predict how climate change and population growth can affect the likelihood of flooding and explore ‘what if’ scenarios based on extreme weather events.

Mark Pugh, principal advisor for flood risk analysis at NRW, said:
“Flooding can devastate communities which is why we have a number of resources available to help warn and inform the people and businesses of Wales when there is a risk of flooding.
“Our flood risk map has been used for years to determine flood risk, develop flood management plans and help make decisions on a number of other issues that flooding can effect.
“This newest update will make this invaluable resource even more accurate, meaning areas all over Wales can be better protected during extreme weather events.”

The update coincides with the launch of the Welsh Government’s National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Risk Management in Wales, a framework for how it intends to manage the risks from flooding and coastal erosion across Wales over the next decade.

Welcoming the strategy, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales Clare Pillman said:
“The publication of the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Risk Management in Wales is a big step forward for managing flood risk in our ever-changing climate.
“The devastating flood events experienced across Wales in February this year, followed by extended periods of long, dry weather over the spring and summer illustrates the extreme and unpredictable challenges we face.
“If we’re going to properly manage the flood risk brought on by this changing climate, we will need to think big to get ahead of the game and pull at all the levers at our disposal. Investing in flood defences is critical but will not address the challenges of climate change on its own.
“We are committed to working closely with Welsh Government and with partners to implement and take forward the policy framework within this strategy as part of our collective ambition to make Wales more resilient to flooding in the future.”

The data contained in the Wales Flood Map can be viewed on NRW’s website and is available from Welsh Government’s Lle website so that other organisations can also use the most up to date information in their decision-making.

The flood map update will be an ongoing project that improves over time with user feedback. NRW will be encouraging users to fill out a short survey on their website that will input into how the service develops and improves its accessibility.