FAQs – Implementation


4. With unequivocal clarity can you please explain what is meant by Managed Realignment for

Rowen Spit in the first epoch? What is your estimate of cost for this managed realignment? Who

pays for it?

The generic policies headlines, such as ‘Managed Realignment’, have to be interpreted

pragmatically depending on the local conditions and change anticipated over the epoch short

term, medium term and long term (nominally from now for 20 years, from 20 to 50 years and 50

to 100 years). This has to be seen as a continuous process. The length of each epoch and the

transition from each one will depend on how quickly sea level rise actually occurs.

Therefore, what we have in this instance is the recognition that Rowen Spit does prevent waves

entering the estuary (it does not protect Fairbourne directly – see 8) and is, therefore, of

some benefit and warrants more than ‘No Active Intervention’ for the first two epochs. It should,

however, be noted that, at present the spit is not fixed in its position; the dunes are allowed to

develop naturally. It also recognises that the spit will come under increasing pressure in the

future as sea levels rise and, therefore, ‘Hold the Line’ is not appropriate given the limited

benefits it provides and, as importantly, rigidly fixing the spit could give rise to problems in

managing the whole estuary entrance. Given the above the default is therefore ‘Managed

Realignment’ which gives landowners and operating authorities the option of adapting the

existing frontage to provide a sustainable defence in the short to medium term. This is the

approach that has been taken to date and no one is currently promoting significant change in the

way in which this location is currently being managed.


5. With unequivocal clarity can you please explain what MR means for the other epochs as they

come into play and the estimated costs associated with them. Will it link with the Minister’s

Investment Plan referred to on the ‘Week In Week Out’ programme? With 40 – 50 communities

up for managed retreat why was Fairbourne singled out?

The SMP is limited to selection from four generic policy headlines (Hold the Line, Managed

Realignment, No Active Intervention and Advance the Line) as set out in the Guidance for

developing SMPs. These have to be explained in relation to the individual areas and

circumstances relevant to specific locations. The SMP attempts to do this. In this, it is recognised

within the SMP that management, particularly in the Fairbourne area, goes beyond just

management of defences and involves raising awareness and planning for change within


As stated earlier (with ref to original FAQS) the updated SMP, based on existing evidence, has

emphasised that at present and over the next 40 years we can defend and that we should

defend. This will be reviewed as further evidence is gained on sea level rise. However, this means

that over epoch 2 (typically over the 20 to 50 years’ time period) we have to prepare for and start

managing the change in risk and preparing for the longer term when defences would no longer

be sustained. We need to address and investigate now all the important issues this raises but

with a present policy of ‘Hold the Line’. As change becomes necessary, we have to manage this

and hence the policy is ‘Managed Realignment’ in epoch 2. In the longer term (epoch 3) defences

would no longer be managed and hence a policy of ‘No Active Intervention’.

The specific details of how this change is managed needs to be defined and is the reason for

ongoing discussion with the community and other partners in the project.


12. What does relocation of Fairbourne – and its (30) businesses and (approximately 60) employees –

mean? How can you ensure that businesses continue to thrive? Are Gwynedd Council planning

for this now?

The Joint LDP covers the period between 2011 – 2026. During this period the SMP advocates

‘Hold the Line’ and a ‘Managed Retreat’ generic policy option for PU zones that affect Fairbourne

during the time frames. The SMP emphasises that the time frames are not rigidly fixed. The

length of each time frame and the transition from each one will depend on how quickly sea level

rise actually occurs.

The Joint Planning Policy Unit is recommending that a Coastal Change Management Area

(CCMA) be included in the LDP. The extent of this Area will be informed by the SMP. The Unit has

formulated draft policies that will prevent new residential development within this Area, – an

approach which will align with national planning policy. Other policies facilitate a limited range

of types of development linked to the coastal area, such as cafes/ tea rooms and sites used for

holiday or sites used for holiday or touring caravans and camping – subject to compliance with

criteria, which could mean that planning mechanisms will be used to manage the life of a

development, i.e. time-limited planning permissions. In all cases, and particularly in relation to

development that involves people staying in caravans or tents or other holiday structures, regard

will have to be had to policies on development and flood risk. If there are existing static, touring

or camping sites in the area, policy in the emerging draft LDP facilitates the relocation of these

sites to suitable sites outside the Area. The LDP will not identify alternative sites. Such proposals

will be subject to the relevant policies in the Plan, e.g. those that deal with impact on the

landscape, sensitive sites, highway network, etc.

Where extensions or alterations to existing businesses or residential properties are proposed that

are likely to increase the scale of the property and the number of occupants at risk, particularly in

houses, consideration would need to be given to the impact on the area at risk and whether the

degree of harm is acceptable. Some extensions or alterations to residential properties are

permitted development, i.e. they do not require planning permission. The Council will be

considering whether to remove the permitted development rights, thus ensuring that it is aware

of all proposed extensions and alterations and are able to manage change. The detailed policies

that will apply to the CCMA will be set out in the Deposit LDP. It is anticipated that the Joint

Planning Policy Committee will approve the Deposit LDP for public consultation on the 18th

December 2014. It is currently anticipated that the statutory public consultation period will take

place during February and March 2015. Details of the consultation period and how to get

involved will be published nearer the date.


13. There is a housing shortage so how will Gwynedd Council ensure there is adequate housing for

the relocation? Will people have to be relocated within Gwynedd? How much flexibility will they

be allowed?

At present in terms of the LDP’s Housing Strategy, the Joint Planning Policy Unit is aware of two

possible scenarios, namely (a) that households (existing and new) will continue to want to livein

existing properties Fairbourne during the Plan period (2011 – 2026), and (b) phased relocation of

existing households during the Plan period.

In terms of the first scenario, a housing growth level was agreed to by the Council in 2013 for

public consultation. Comments about the proposed growth level have been considered as well as

up to date evidence about the need/ demand for housing in the Plan area. The Joint Planning

Policy Committee will be considering the results of this work on the 18th December 2014 when it

considers the Deposit LDP. The Council currently aims to proportionately distribute the new

housing units required in the Plan area according to the role of settlements as set out in the

emerging Joint LDP. Therefore, a specific ‘target’ is set for each defined settlement. The draft

Deposit LDP does not propose to facilitate any new housing units in Fairbourne. Nonetheless

there are existing historic planning consents for new housing in Fairbourne, which fall outside the

remit of the emerging Plan.

The question, however, suggests that the second scenario would need to be planned for, i.e. that

existing households would need to be relocated. This scenario would mean that existing housing

units would be left unoccupied and therefore, there would be a demand for new housing units in

excess of the number that would be usually directed to a settlement of Fairbourne’s size/ role. At

present the Joint Planning Policy Unit isn’t aware of any firm evidence that confirms that there is

a need to identify specific sites in alternative settlements to accommodate the relocation of some

or all the existing households in Fairbourne during the Plan period. The draft Deposit LDP includes

a rural exceptions sites policy that facilitates the development of additional housing units in or

adjoining settlements where general market housing would normally be refused. This policy

would apply to settlements such as Tywyn and Barmouth. Once adopted (anticipated December

2016) the LDP will be formally monitored on annual basis and a full review will be undertaken

every four years. Should firm evidence about the requirement for a significant relocation of

residential properties from Fairbourne be presented the Joint Planning Policy Unit together with

the National Park Planning Authority would seek to formulate a policy that could facilitate a



14. How will Gwynedd Council support those members of the community whose care package either

now, or in the future, is dependent upon an assessment which includes the saleable value of

their property?

If you cannot sell your house: For Residential/Nursing care only. If a service user owns a

property, the value of the property is taken into consideration. The value of the property is added

to any other capital that the service user may possess. If the service user’s total capital is in

excess of the capital limit the service user will be assessed to pay the full cost for their care. The

value of a property is initially determined by a professional valuation. This may or may not

change dependent on the final sale value of the property. If the final sale value of the property is

less than originally estimated, then this will reduce the capital figure used in the financial

assessment. Consequently this may reduce the amount that the service user may have to pay

towards the cost of their care. If a property has no value, it will be disregarded in the financial

means assessment.

What if the amount of debt (or bill) you’d ‘accrued’ whilst being in care, couldn’t be realised

from your estate upon your death? Does the debt pass onto your children? As above. If there is

an outstanding debt for care and this has accrued in relation to the value of a property, the total

figure of the debt may have to be revised dependent on the final sale value of the property. A

deceased person’s debt is payable from their estate not by their children

How will the bill for your care be paid upon your death? By the executor of the estate, from the

funds held in the estate.

What if you die in probate? The executor would apply for probate after a service user has died


15. How is Gwynedd Council going to support the vulnerable within our community who are

distressed and worried now as a result of the adoption of this policy by Gwynedd Council? And

as the process moves forward?

The updated SMP, based on existing evidence, has emphasised that at present and over the next

40 years we can defend and that we should defend. This will need to be reviewed as more

information about sea level rise is obtained. The community is currently working with Natural

Resources Wales to review and re-establish the Community Flood Warden role and this will be

effective from January 2015. In addition to this, Community Council are working with other

agencies in developing an emergency plan should very exceptional storm conditions be predicted.

This will be co-ordinated with flood warnings, as at present. The plan will be discussed and the

community will be involved and kept aware.

The project recognises, however, that different individuals, depending on their circumstance, will

be vulnerable in different ways to longer term change. To ensure we are addressing any areas of

concern, the Project Board and Working Group with work closely with Fairbourne Facing Change

and the community council to ensure that any worries or concerns from the community are

raised in good time, in order for the project to address these issues and find suitable solutions.

The Socio/Economic Consequences of Climate Change Task/Finish group has already completed a

piece of work to identify any rise in anxiety or depression-related illnesses across Fairbourne and

has found that there has been no increase to-date.


25. We understand that improvements to defences at Friog are being explored. Could you tell us

precisely what these improvements are and what budget has been identified to support them?

Are you looking for solutions that have proven successful in other parts of the world?

The recent storms led to undermining and subsequent damage to a section of the sea wall at

Friog corner. This resulted in emergency works being carried out and the importation of 900

tonnes of rock armour to make good the damage. The action stabilised the damaged area and

monitoring confirms this to still be the case.

Natural Resources Wales has secured initial funding to investigate the potential for any

betterment in stabilising the damaged section through investigating the coastal processes, and

the potential to maximise natural processes as part of the defence for example, a groyne trap

may maximise gravel/shingle retention at this corner. As part of the process, enquiries will be

made to identify any similar issues elsewhere and options that have been considered previously.

The initial works to maintain the integrity of the defences at Friog are now complete.

We have now secured a budget and engaged a consultant to carry out a study at Friog and the

remaining foreshore which includes a comprehensive brief based on the assessment of the

current defences, beach processes and options for the future to secure the frontage.


26. There are concerns regarding the actual flood plan. What is it? Should there be a mechanical

alarm in place? Who is responsible for raising the alarm if the sea wall is breached? What

happens to residents who are ‘bed ridden’, have mobility problems or are ill? What about the

children? What is the plan for rescue and evacuation? Do flood wardens get training? Are flood

wardens covered by the Council’s insurance?

Although major flooding might be rare, we need to plan for such an event to ensure that people

are safe. An emergency plan is being developed through the Community Council. This is will form

an important element considered by the Project. This is being discussed by the Task and Finish

Group – Emergency Response Plans.

Fairbourne Community Flood Plan We have now reviewed the position of the existing

Community Flood Plan and have decided jointly with Arthog Community Council to revisit the

plan and recruit further flood wardens.

A meeting took place on the 18 November whereby Eirian Redmayne from Natural Resources

Wales was invited to go along to Fairbourne to give a presentation to those interested to become

wardens to explain further about the Plan and the role of the flood warden. Mike Scott of Arthog

Community Council led the meeting.

Following this meeting, further numbers of wardens have signed up and the next step will be to

arrange a further meeting in Fairbourne to provide the new wardens with further training and to

populate the plan further.

What is a Community Flood Plan A Flood Plan is a document that provides good

communication link between Natural Resources Wales, Local Authority, Emergency Services and

flood wardens prior, during, and after warnings are issued.

The Plan provides information on all 421 properties at risk and explains the procedure of each

organisation when warnings are issued. It also provides information on setting up a Forward

Command Post which is usually set up when a flood warning is issued, and is attended by Natural

Resources Wales/Local Authority, Emergency Services and a representative of the Flood Warden

Group. This group will coordinate the response to a flood event which will include discussions

and planning of the evacuation process which is lead by North Wales Police. In some

Communities, flood wardens will gather information from their allocated areas of vulnerable

residents which can be shared during this meeting.

What is a Flood Warden the flood warden acts as the link between Natural Resources Wales,

Local Authority and the residents and they will encourage residents to take action to prepare for

a flood by ensuring that they are registered to receive flood warnings, and better understand

what the warnings mean so that appropriate action can be taken.

Each warden will have their allocated area within the Community and will visit each property in

their area to promote the flood warning service.

They will gather, if in agreement, a record on vulnerable residents which will be shared and

coordinated with the Senior flood warden or his/her deputy with the Police and Local Authority

at times of evacuation.

The Flood Warden role is a volunteering role, and it’s purely a communication role between the

community and other wardens. There will be a Senior Flood Warden and assistant appointed

who will lead on the plan and communicate as necessary with organisations when warnings are

issued as set up in the plan.

They will meet up as agreed with the Senior Flood Warden and arrange way forward with the

community. They will also instruct Natural Resources Wales when changes are made to the

Community Flood Plan.

It is important to note that Flood Wardens must not:-

Take any actions that could endanger their personal safety, or the safety of the general public

Carry out the job of the emergency services – they are trained professionals with the correct

equipment and understanding of their role e.g. getting involved in rescues

Enter floodwater – remember just 15cm (6 inches) of fast flowing water can sweep you off your

feet. Floodwater displaces manhole covers and hides other dangerous obstructions.

Attempt to use vehicles in areas of flood water

Rest Centres they are set up by the local authority who have their own plans. All relevant

organisations will be informed of the set up of the rest centres.


28. How will Gwynedd Council support the community in dealing with the detrimental effects on the

village including developing health and well-being issues?

The Working Group (formerly Socio/Economic Effects of Climate Change Task/Finish Group) will

address any matters relating to health and well-being issues caused by the Shoreline

Management Plan. Members of Fairbourne Facing Change hold a seat on this working group

and will be the link between the community and the Working Group/Project in order to

communicate any issues which need to be addressed. Should any member of the community not

want to liaise with Fairbourne Facing Change members, they can contact a member of the

Working Group via: www.fairbourne.info where telephone numbers, email addresses and a

‘contact me’ form, can be found.


29. If managed retreat takes place will the village be relocated together? Will a new village

community be built for the residents? Where will it be? What will happen if anyone refuses to

sell up? With 50 communities facing managed retreat will there be enough land for relocation to

take place and who will fund it? Who will make the final decision – Gwynedd Council, the Welsh

Government or the UK Government?

What does make Fairbourne different to many other areas is that the whole area of the village is

built at this low level. There are no significant areas of high ground, major flooding would affect

the whole village. The implications of this are being considered by the project. There will be

impacts on other communities and the Council are working with these communities in

considering their needs as well. This larger picture will be addressed through this process. At this

time no fixed plans are in place. It is essential that the community are involved in this task,

alongside other agencies.

At the last Project Board Meeting, it was decided that work needs to start to help us understand

what the village may look like in the future. In order to do this, it was decided that a small

workgroup be formed to undertake an ‘Options Appraisal’ exercise. Throughout this Options

Appraisal, questions such as this can be addressed. This workgroup has not met up as yet,

however, once it has been established and work is ‘in progress’ updates will be available.


30. Is there a possibility of the village bulk buying specific home protection?

At this stage it is considered impractical to address the long term risk through local, specific

home protection to individual buildings. This is a task that should be undertaken by the

community itself.


31. What plans will be implemented to prevent the village from becoming a ghost town?

At the last Project Board Meeting, it was decided that work needs to start to help us understand

what the village may look like in the future. In order to do this, it was decided that a small

workgroup be formed to undertake an ‘Options Appraisal’ exercise. Throughout this Options

Appraisal, questions such as this can be addressed. This workgroup has not met up as yet,

however, once it has been established and work is ‘in progress’ updates will be available.


32. How will the village be policed to prevent vandalism and property crime?

At the last Project Board Meeting, it was decided that work needs to start to help us understand

what the village may look like in the future. In order to do this, it was decided that a small

workgroup be formed to undertake an ‘Options Appraisal’ exercise. Throughout this Options

Appraisal, questions such as this can be addressed. This workgroup has not met up as yet,

however, once it has been established and work is ‘in progress’ updates will be available.


34. Do Gwynedd Council think that the SMP2 has the wellbeing of the villagers at heart? In its

implementation of the SMP2 does the Council intend to have the wellbeing of the community at

its heart? If ‘yes’ how? If ‘no’ what next?

Yes, in part by making residents aware of possible future scenarios and the risk they face.

However, possibly as importantly, in engaging the community as to how we address the concerns

being expressed. The SMP highlights the longer term risk to the community and to individuals

and aims to explain the difficulty in keeping people safe in the longer term due to sea level rise.

Change has to happen, it is essential that the project draws upon the knowledge of the

community and works with the community in developing long term solutions that reduce the

risks associated with very difficult situation being faced.

As part of the Workgroup (mentioned in Q28) and the Options Appraisal project (Q31) any issues

relating to the wellbeing of the community in conjunction with the Shoreline Management Plan,

will be addressed, as and when appropriate.


37. As Gwynedd Council points out there are measures in place to enable flood risk properties to get

insurance but insurance premiums will increase probably beyond the pockets of local people and

in turn become unaffordable. The Council and SMP2 has exacerbated the insurance position.

What does the Council intend to do about this?

The insurance industry has, for over a decade, been using information published by the

Environment Agency regarding flood risk. Many people have reported having difficulty obtaining

insurance before SMP2 as a result of the 2004 Flood Maps. This will be monitored through the

project. The Water Act 2014 will address availability and affordability of insurance.

Further to the Task and Finish Group – Property Values, Insurance and Planning Policy, Natural

Resources Wales have stated that if any homeowner requires a statement to produce to their

insurance company to demonstrate that their home is not currently affected by flooding, then

please get in touch with them via the Project Workgroup.


41. Can you explain precisely what you intend to monitor over the next 5 years? Will we be kept

informed of the progress and monitoring? Will you also be undertaking an in-depth study in light

of the recent real storm event and its impact on the affected communities? Shouldn’t this trigger

a review of the SMP2?

A monitoring programme will be established to monitor 3 main elements, they are:

Ground water

Shingle bank volume

Intertidal beach level

The programme will be established and refined, depending on results, during the first 5 years

with a view to continue monitoring for the next 30 to 40 years. This information will build on the

monitoring data gathered over the last 22 years. Monitoring results and analysis will be

published annually.

The Wales Coastal Flooding Review Phase 2 was published by Natural Resources Wales on 1 May

2014. Recommendation 41 refers to SMP2 and is inserted in full below.

Welsh Government should endorse the strategic framework established by the Shoreline

Management Plans (SMP2). This should be accompanied by more national and local support to

communities and community involvement in the development of local adaptation options and


Develop a ‘local adaptation toolkit’ to better support communities. This may include technical

guidance, templates, and engagement and communication tools and policy positions. Local

discussions in all coastal communities need to begin now, involving professional partners and the

community. These discussions should consider communities on a risk basis. These discussions

need to explore and develop local plans to adapt and increase resilience over time.

Support and draw upon the experience of the Fairbourne multi-agency group to help inform

adaptation and community resilience discussions at other locations.

Monitoring is the process of measuring physical change in such a way that it can be repeated an

infinite number of times over a prolonged period. When a number of measurements have been

collected it will be possible to carry out analysis of the data to quantify the change and

extrapolate the rate of change into the future.

The three elements being measured are:

Ground water this will entail installing boreholes to measure and record the level of the water

table underground.

Shingle bank is the measurement by laser scanning of the change in volume of the shingle

bank. This is done by comparing the latest survey with previous surveys to identify and quantify

change. The first laser scan survey was carried out in October.

Intertidal beach is the measurement by topographic surveying of the amount of sand on the

beach when the tide is out. Again we will be able to identify and quantify change. The first

topographic survey was carried in October so that data regarding the sand and shingle were

captured the same time.

An in-depth study of the impact of recent storms on the affected communities will not be

undertaken as part of the monitoring programme . The impact of recent storms will not trigger a

review of the SMP2.


49. There is ongoing concern about the precarious position of some of the Dragon’s Teeth. What has

been done by the relevant agencies regarding the risk assessment associated with this and the

need for ongoing monitoring?

The shingle that had been thrown over the flood wall during the storm was cleared up and

returned to the beach in April 2014. At the same time each of the dragons’ teeth which had been

displaced was checked for stability and utilising the plant available any dragons tooth which

could topple over was stabilised. It is not known if any further inspections have been carried out.


60. It is clear that SMP2 has not considered accurately the economics of sustaining Fairbourne over

the next 100 years. It is also, without doubt, the case that the Fairbourne area can be sustained

beyond 40 to 50 years if the correct level of funding is available, i.e. the sustainability of

Fairbourne is an economic issue over and above an environmental issue. With this in mind,

please can you communicate publicly and, especially, to estate agents that there is currently no

accurate evidence to suggest that the future sustainability of Fairbourne is under threat? If you

do not want to do this then please explain why?

As outlined in the response to question 56, only a high level assessment of economics have been

undertaken in the SMP. This has been undertaken accurately in line with standard procedure for

appraisal at this level of investigation. However, despite the high level approach that has been

undertaken, this still clearly demonstrates that with sea level rise the residual damages (those

that would occur in the event of failure of the defence system or would occur should the

defences be overtopped by an event of a severity tht exceeds the standard of defence) increases

sharply with sea level rise. Even in maintaining defences at their current standard in the future

the investment required will also increase.

In effect, in the future there would need to be increased investment with a reducing benefit and

increasing fragility or vulnerability over time, imposing an unacceptable reliance on defence and

a significant burden on future generations. Taking the long term perspective (in line with the

principles of sustainable development as discussed in answer to question 55) a balance has to be

struck between the aim to sustain the community and the ever increasing reliance this places on

maintaining defences.

While the position put forward by the SMP is not one based on environmental considerations,

over and above those of sustainability and economics, the project will consider environmental

gains that can be achieved through change and, where possible, this will be taken into account in

supporting the process of change.

Action has been taken through the present project to address the issue, in the short term, of

property valuation. In developing the project further this will be reviewed and further

information provided as required to support the community.


62. According to SMP2, you are going to abandon from the estuary defence forward at 2025.

Explain this to everyone.

This issue was in part raised in question 5 above. However, we recognise that it is very important

for people to have a good understanding of what the SMP policies refer to and how they apply.

It needs to be made absolutely clear that there is no intention to abandon the estuary defence

(the embankment) or other defences in 2025.

So where has the date 2025 come from? This requires an understanding of the SMP process.

The SMP should be seen as a plan, addressing present day issues but also setting out, in terms of

overall policy, the needs for future management. In the first SMP (SMP1), over ten years ago, we

looked forward just 50 years and typically we defined one policy over that time period. For

Fairbourne, the plan said the aim was to hold the line but also highlighted that overtime there

would be increased difficulty in managing defences.

In developing the SMP2, it was recognised that this SMP1 approach failed to provide the

guidance needed to face up to future challenges and the need for change. To tackle this

problem, it was agreed that the SMP would consider how management would develop over

different periods of time, starting with how management would be undertaken over the short

term (epoch 1), considering how this would develop over the medium term (epoch 2) and finally

considering how management would develop over the long term (epoch 3). As a guide, short

term was considered to be typically over the next 20 years (hence the date of 2025), medium

term was typically over the period from 20 to 50 years and the long term was beyond 50 years.

The Guidance, however, emphasised that these time steps were only a guide and that, in reality,

the way in which change would occur would be a continuous process.

In addition, particularly in the case of an area such as Fairbourne, it was recognised that change

goes beyond just management of defences and involves raising awareness and planning for

change within communities. The SMP2, therefore, set out a series of actions that needed to be

taken forward. (This is covered in question 67 below).

Where the SMP, therefore, identifies a change in policy from Holding the Line to one of

Managed Realignment, between epoch 1 and epoch 2, this identifies the need to plan for

change. How that can be achieved, what the full implications of this are and when defences

would no longer be maintained are all wrapped up in the process of change that is being looked

at within the project.


64. What does ‘decommissioning’ mean in practice? How will it affect me as an individual?

The Masterplan, which will deal with the decommissioning of the village, is in exceptionally

early stages and at this moment, we are unsure what the Masterplan will look like, exactly what

it entails and how it will affect people, individually. Currently, the project group is looking at

what aspects of the community are going to be affected and how, at various points of sea level

and ground water rises. A facilitated session to start this process will be taking place on 17th

March 2016 and the outcomes from this session will form the basis of the Masterplan. By the

next public meeting – estimated to be around June 2016 ‐ the project should be in a position to

communicate to residents, the issues identified along with possible solutions. It is at that point

that members of the community will be given the opportunity to come up with solutions too

and raise further matters that could be affected by the rise in sea and ground water levels. It is

hoped that the Masterplan will be a collaborative process and that the project can work

alongside the community to find solutions we can all live with. It is worth noting that the

Masterplan will have to be a flexible document, tailored to allow – and respond ‐ for both the

early‐onset or delay in the rise of sea or ground water levels and furthermore, that a great deal

of the matters raised as potential problems (eg, some have asked ‘where will I be moved to?’)

will take many years to plan for.


70. How will you compensate us if we become evicted and relocated from our homes?

Currently, there is no legislation to ‘evict’ you from your home and there is no compensation

scheme. Relocation of homeowners, when and if necessary, will be dealt with as part of the

Fairbourne Masterplan project group; as this project group is at a very early stage, this issue has

not been dealt with as yet, however, when we are addressing this matter, we will collaborate

with homeowners to find a sensible solution.


71. Whose responsibility is it to rehouse us and what is the mechanism? Without a mechanism,

would we be forced?

Currently, the responsibility of rehousing homeowners does not rest with any statutory body

and there is no legislation to ‘force’ anyone to move out of their home. Both of these issues will

be addressed as part of the Fairbourne Masterplan.


73. A lot of people have invested in properties in the village, we have experienced a decline in

property prices and this has caused a great deal of anxiety and stress for the residents of

Fairbourne. One estate agent has previously stated that properties of Fairbourne are worthless.

If we want to try and sell now, we can’t and it isn’t fair. What are you doing to help?

See response to question 74. It is worth mentioning that no drop in house valuations were

observed upon publication and adoption of the SMP2. House values were only observed to have

dropped since erroneous reporting in the media occurred.


76. As someone flooded in 2000, thanks for the recent defence investment. SMP2 isn’t set in stone;

it’s subject to best scientific estimates and real‐time observations.

Our commitment has always been to defend Fairbourne for 40 years (from 2014) based on the

scientific information available at that time the SMP2 was written. As time goes by, more

(accurate) scientific information will become available and our own monitoring regimes will

allow us to predict, more precisely, the impact of sea and groundwater levels on the village. At

this moment, it is unlikely that the SMP2 will be revised, however, the Fairbourne Masterplan

will be written with built‐in flexibility to take account of more accurately predicted changes in



77. We’ve had a commitment to defend Fairbourne for the next 40 years, what does that mean in


This question does relate also to the answer above (question 76) in relation to the 40 years. The

response below refers more specifically to the commitment to defend.

In terms of the context, any investment in defence, of any area, by a public body has to be

tested against the guidance set out in Government policy and against guidance from the

Treasury. This also has to recognise that the ability for an Operating Authority to undertake

works is a permissive power, not a duty to defend. Therefore, as in any area, when the need

arises for works to be undertaken an appraisal is undertaken to assess what specific action

would be taken. An example of this is at the Friog corner following the damage that occurred in


However, these individual assessments are not taken in isolation from the longer term

management intent for an area. The SMP provides the overall guidance from which a strategy is

developed. This was the case when the improvement works to the embankment were

undertaken. The appraisal of that project took account of the fact that the SMP had identified

the need to continue to defend and the project appraisal then looked at how that need could be

addressed in detail.

During the 40 years, the intent would be to repair defences and address flood risk issues arising

from extreme events. As we move towards the end of this period there would be the need to

review what specific actions might be required. The development of the Master Plan will set in

place a plan of what actions might be required in the future but each action will need to be

reassessed in detail as investment is required. This will critically depend upon sea level rise and

upon associated actions developed through the project.


78. Will the defence investment measures be proactive rather than reactive?

It’s reactive in the sense that we carried out emergency repairs following the damage that

occurred as a result of the December 2013 and January 2014 storms. We have been proactive in

recruiting a consultant to look into the problem at Friog corner and that we are investing in a

defence that is a dynamic option to the commitment of holding the line at Fairbourne. We

continue with our maintenance and inspection regime within the community, ensuring critical

assets such as ditches, tidal gates and sluices are in good working order in preparation for

flooding and we provide those at risk with a flood warning service and continue to work closely

with the flood wardens during flood events.


92. The Masterplan is based on sea inundation of the village at a future date. Current properties

valued at circa £60million. Could we establish a £60million fund for future use at a time when

needed? The buy‐to-let scheme rounds the values down, but a security fund would be better.

Need to apply political pressure.

As communicated at the public meeting, no compensation is available either directly to

homeowners or as a security fund. The Buy to Let scheme is not yet established and it is

therefore impossible to estimate potential values of houses.


99. With an elderly relative and potential need for care, what will happen here if we can’t realise

funds from a house sale to fund the care?

This is an issue we addressed some time ago as part of the Working Group. If homeowners have

a care requirement and are unable to pay for this, Gwynedd Council Social Services will assess

their needs and pay for the care they need. If it is possible to sell the house in the meantime,

then funds from this will contribute towards the cost of care, however, if it is not possible to sell

the property then Gwynedd Council will settle the bill. It is also worth noting that the ‘debt’ will

remain with the estate and not be passed to other family members to pay. We have developed

a Care Factsheet, which has been available at all public meetings since 2014 and copies can be

found on this website.


104. According to the SMP2 now signed‐off, 2025 embankment to the point will be abandoned.

This will finish the railway, ferry, etc, devastating the village. Are people aware of this?

The Preferred Policy for Policy Unit 11.5 (Ro Wen Spit [Fairbourne Point]) is Managed

Realignment in the first epoch. Firstly the length of an epoch will be determined by actual sea

level rise, if the rate of sea level rise is found to be faster or slower than that used to develop

the SMP then the length of Epoch 1 will be adjusted accordingly, this may or may not have a

knock on effect on Epoch 2.

The SMP only gives a high level preferred policy, if a land/asset owner wishes to build a

defence then the preferred policy will be taken into consideration during the consenting

process. There would be a general presumption against allowing a defence to be built but if

the land/asset owner chooses the most sustainable low impact intervention option

(managed realignment can still be a defence) which does not have an adverse effect

elsewhere then consent is unlikely to be withheld. No defence can guarantee safety from

erosion and flooding but the SMP policies allow land/asset owners to make an informed

decision regarding trying to maintain the status quo, all defences will become increasingly

costly to maintain in the future as sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and



105. Will people be forcibly evicted from their homes?

We are unsure about legislation relating to this matter at the moment, however, we are

currently researching what existing legislation exists and where there are gaps, which relate

to the Masterplan. As soon as we have completed this exercise, it will be published to the



106. So far there has been no consultation with the businesses. When the village is

decommissioned and households are relocated, will businesses be relocated as well?

It is fair to say there has been no specific consultation with businesses; however, business

owners have come to see us at public events and Working Group Meetings. We will address

this matter shortly.


109. How will you move us out of the village?

This will be addressed as part of the Masterplan, but has not been discussed as yet.


110. Where will we be re‐housed and what choice will we have? Will we be involved in the

decisions to re‐house us?

This will be addressed as part of the Masterplan. It is hoped that the Masterplan will be

produced in collaboration with the community and as such, your opinions will guide us to

relevant solutions. As yet, we have not reached this issue within the Masterplan as it is still

very early days for this project.


112. Is flexibility built into the process and if so, how does this work? Would you be proposing to

revise your programme and the SMP2?

Flexibility in terms of timescales will be built into the process as we are planning to write the

Masterplan based on sea and ground water level rise, as opposed to the epochs outlined in

the SMP2. This means that within the Masterplan, the relevant actions will only take place in

line with the levels rising, eg, if sea and/or ground water levels rise to x, then we’ll have to

start doing y.

Whilst the Masterplan will be continually revised, depending upon the results we obtain from

our monitoring regimes (and forecasts, accordingly), we are unable to commit to revising the

SMP2 at this moment in time. This may change if there is a significant change in scientific

information that’s made available to us through an official and approved channel.


113. You said that you had approached various bodies with a view to them adopting the Buy and

Lease Back scheme, who had understandably, not shown any interest. Why is Gwynedd

Council not adopting the scheme themselves?

This option was discussed at a very early stage of the project, however, due to cynicism from

some areas of the community (believing that Gwynedd had only adopted the SMP2 in order

to make money from the misfortune of the Fairbourne community), we ruled‐out Gwynedd

Council as an option.

In light of the lack of interest from any commercial organisation, we will now re‐visit this

option and communicate the outcome through the usual channels.


114. Following the question raised regarding payment of residential care for the elderly, you said

that is the property was unsellable the Council would pay for care. However, if a property is

unoccupied and unsellable what would happen to it? Would it be left to go into disrepair?

We would hope that the Buy to Let scheme would be able to support this issue. Clearly (as

outlined in Q113, above) there are some issues we need to resolve first, however, we are

meeting with Gwynedd’s housing team in the next month, after which we should be able to

provide a clearer response to this question.