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Coastal Protection


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Conwy County is famous for its 73km long coastline, which draws visitors from around the world to a World Heritage Site, Blue Flag beaches and historic Victorian promenades.

Contrary to popular belief, the shoreline is not a fixed boundary. Without human intervention in the form of coastal protection, the location of the shoreline would constantly change due to tidal processes.

Conwy’s Duties and Strategies

Under the Coast Protection Act 1949, the Council has permissive powers to order or carry out coastal protection works on land when it deems necessary. There is no obligation under this legislation for the Council to carry out any works.

Currently, Conwy manages 23km of artificial sea defences (breakwaters, sea walls, etc.) that protect Council-owned property including the promenades of Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr.

In Britain, every length of coastline has been analysed, and a decision has been made as to whether to 'do nothing', 'advance the line', 'retreat the line', or 'hold the line.' These decisions have been formalized in the Shoreline Management Plans, which outlines the strategy for the coastline. Due to the scale of erosion and cost of defences, there are many areas of Britain where the decision has been made to sacrifice land and property to the advancing sea.

In Conwy, the current strategy for most sections of our coastline is 'hold the line.' Conwy is covered by two Shoreline Management Plans – the West of Wales Shoreline Management Plan and the North West England & North Wales Shoreline Management Plan.

To view the West of Wales SMP, please visit:

http://www.westofwalessmp.org/  To view the North West England & North Wales SMP, please see attached documents.

Landowner’s Rights and Responsibilities

Private landowners are responsible for protecting their own property from erosion and flooding. The Council has no responsibility for the coastal protection of private property. However, we have a duty to assess the risk a property’s risk of flooding. For more information, please see the Flooding Advice and Guidance page.

Coastal Repair Works 2014-15

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