Plans to protect a Monmouthshire village from future flooding have moved another step closer.
Skenfrith, on the banks of the River Monnow and Norton Brook, has found itself under water three times in 14 months.
Homes and businesses were particularly hard hit following heavy rainfall in October 2019 and again just four months later when Storm Dennis struck in February 2020, causing extensive damage.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) outlined various options for flood prevention measures to a public meeting at Skenfrith Village Hall in March.
Funding has now been secured from Welsh Government to develop an outline business case into the viability of a possible scheme.
However, NRW warned there is “potential for delay” in starting work due to a shortage of project managers.
Monmouth MP David Davies, who has been working closely with village representatives to lobby for better flood defences, welcomed the funding as “good news” in a “long process”.
“Skenfrith residents face an anxious few winters knowing they may well be flooded again, so it is vital progress is made on delivering this strategic outline case,” he said.
“Due to market pressures and shortages, I am told recruitment of project managers over the last 12 months has been very difficult. NRW is currently running a recruitment campaign, which will hopefully prove fruitful to enable the Skenfrith work to progress in the autumn.
“There is the potential for delay if the required project managers cannot be recruited but senior NRW officials have assured me they will do everything they can to prevent this.
“I will keep up the pressure on NRW and look forward to meeting residents again shortly.”
An initial assessment suggests feasible schemes, at this stage, are property level protection or some form of wall/embankment around the village.
The strategic outline case could take up to 12 months to whittle down the options and would involve discussions with heritage monuments body Cadw because of Skenfrith Castle.
It could then take another 12 months to develop a final business case and six months to secure a contractor to carry out the work.
“If all went to plan, we are looking at a minimum of two to three years for a scheme to come to fruition - providing each business case passes strict criteria and funding is in place,” added Mr Davies.
“It is a long and protracted process, but we have taken another important step forward in the right direction.”