Thousands of acres of farmland in Gwynedd are still being flooded twice a day after violent storms created a 50-metre breach in sea defences.

Farmers Union of Wales president Emyr Jones has visited farms affected by the flooding at Llanbedr, near Harlech, and admitted he was “shocked and horrified” by the scale of the damage.

The power of the sea caused a 50-metre break in the defences, flooding farmland and homes.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is preparing to repair the damage by creating a temporary 1km road to allow workers to move the 15,000t of boulders, clay and soil needed to fill the breach.

But they face a challenging task because work has to stop at every high tide when the site becomes flooded.

Tim Jones, from NRW, sympathised with the farmers and residents affected. “It has been a terrible start to the year for them,” he said.

“The need for detailed planning on this scheme means it has taken a little longer to start work than we would have liked.”

Emyr Jones said the incident has highlighted the need for farmland to be protected from flooding. This point has been made in the union’s response to the NRW’s consultation paper Planning our Future.

“Farming by its very nature is responsible for the management and protection of the landscape and the environment as well as the production of food for an ever-increasing population, but there is no reference in the NRW’s paper to this contribution,” said Mr Jones.

“We believe that as agriculture is the predominant land use in Wales, recognition needs to be given to the role of agriculture in the management of water and the implications of flooding to food production in addition to property and the protection of the environment.”

NRW intends to publish its final plan in March.

(More on Welsh farmland flooding )