FAQs – Responsibilities

8. Can you identify which agency is responsible for what, eg, the sea wall, the shingle, the bank and

so on. Subsequently which agency funds what?

 All the sea and tidal defences in Fairbourne are maintained by Natural Resources Wales,

although all are privately owned. The exception to this are the structures associated with the

defences (the concrete sea wall and the tidal doors/flaps) which, although on private land are

deemed to Natural Resources Wales structures.

The funding for maintenance rests with Natural Resources Wales and any improvements seeking

Flood Defence Grant in Aid would be channelled through Natural Resources Wales.


9. How do you see the future of the protected national monuments being catered for?

Historic monuments are managed by Cadw, which is Welsh Governments historic environment

service, and they have recently been on site in Fairbourne to view the displacement and damage

to the Second World War tank traps and pill box. Cadw realise the difficulty associated with

maintaining the historic defences at their present location but where possible they would like to

see them reinstated to their present line and level. It is unclear at present whether this is


The Coastal Defence Options Study for the Friog area will take on board the wishes of Cadw so

that any future designs will be able to accommodate the tank traps.


10. Whose responsibility is it to maintain and clear ditches? Ditches on Glan y Mor and in other

areas have been overgrown for years.

Fairbourne lies within the Mawddach and Wnion Internal Drainage District (I.D.D) with Natural

Resources Wales acting as the Internal Drainage Board. Natural Resources Wales has permissive

powers to undertake maintenance works on watercourses that are designated as ‘main rivers’,

such as the Afon Henddol. They also carry out works on adopted ditches which attract a levy

paid annually by landowners and Cyngor Gwynedd. The levy covers the cost of maintenance of

these adopted ditches, but the majority of ditches are not adopted and deemed maintainable

privately. Natural Resources Wales have the powers to maintain all the ditches in the I.D.D, but

the funding would need to be met through the local levy, which currently is only able to support

the adopted system.

The ditch at Glan Y Mor historically has not been considered a flood risk to the area and did

not cause any flooding in 2000, unlike Ffordd Corsen. We take a risk based approach to

determine our maintenance programme with people and property being the priority. The more

critical ditches might be opened annually while other ditches which do not reduce flood risk might

not be maintained at all. The annual maintenance programme is reviewed annually and this can

change due to flood events or visual conditional assessments for example.


63. If the village does start to flood, we need to evacuate quickly. There should be an emergency

route across the Cambrian railway as well as the level crossing to remove the bottleneck.

Many thanks for this – we can look at this as part of the Masterplan.


93. Do you accept responsibility for impacts on the community via approval and adoption of the


The Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council accept responsibility for the adoption of the

SMP2. We do not accept responsibility for the impact on the community as we believe the

responsibility for this lies with the BBC. Gwynedd alone has 35 coastal communities subject to

the SMP2 and no other community has been affected to the same degree as Fairbourne, from

where the Week in, Week out programme was broadcast. The outlook for some of these

communities is far worse in terms of level of protection than Fairbourne.


94. We knew nothing about the SMP2 before the Week In, Week Out programme. We should seek

their formal, televised apology for the implications of their comments. However, the Council

can’t blame the BBC, lessons need to be learnt. Nothing came up in the property purchase

search re: SMP2.

We have tried to seek redress through the BBC and been unsuccessful. We are aware that we

made the assumption that the Arthog Community Council would communicate the SMP2 to

their residents and clearly this did not happen; both ourselves and Arthog Community Council

have learned lessons from this. We are very open and honest about this and have never tried to

‘cover this up’ – indeed, it is an issue that we talk about when we speak at industry events, to try

and raise awareness of these assumptions in the hope that other local authorities do not make

the same assumptions.

We are aware that the SMP2 is not coming up in property searches. Gwynedd Council’s Planning

Service is part of the project board and they are addressing this issue. It is worth noting

however, that the responsibility for checking for policies such as the SMP2 also rest with the

prospective buyers’ solicitors.


100. Why has Fairbourne: Moving Forward not adequately answered any questions we’ve asked?

FMF have adequately answered a great deal of questions, as indicated by the colour indexing

to the FAQs document (explained on the front sheet). Where questions are not deemed as being

adequately answered, this is due to information not being available at the time of responding

or we have not been able to obtain a sufficient response from the relevant stakeholders.

This may be due to a particular issue not having been addressed as yet, or legislation relating

to that issue, not being in place. It is our aim to review all questions prior to publication of

this document, and it is quite likely that many of the questions contained herein change their

‘status/colour’ as time progresses and more information/solutions become available. It is

worth stating that it is not due to ‘wanting to hide information’ or poor communication.