Plaid Cymru calls from action to minimise flooding devastation
As Welsh coastal towns pick up the pieces following the devastating floods that occurred at the beginning of January, the Party of Wales has outlined further action that needs to be taken to protect flood-prone areas in future.
The Party of Wales Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities Llyr Gruffydd called on the UK Government to review its decision to deny Welsh flood-hit areas emergency European repair funds.
The Conservative-led UK Government should heed the calls of a Tory MEP and apply for emergency European funding to pay for the damage caused by recent storms, he said.
He also called once again on the Welsh Government to establish a Welsh Flood Forum to work with communities to minimise the flood risk, and for farmers and landowners to be empowered to maintain riverbanks on their land to help prevent flooding.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities Llyr Gruffydd said:
“Flooding and other extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent in Wales, and they are something that we should be much more prepared for. That’s why I have called on the Welsh Government to introduce a Flood Forum to work with communities to prepare for instances of flooding.
“It is also time for the Welsh Government to follow the example of DEFRA which has set up seven pilot schemes across England. They will give farmers, landowners, community and environmental groups an opportunity to be involved in decisions around the future of river and flood defence maintenance in their area. DEFRA has also reduced red tape in those pilot areas to make it easier for farmers and landowners to maintain rivers themselves where they choose to do so.
“When flooding occurs it brings with it devastation and heartache, as we saw in recent weeks across Wales. The damage caused by January’s floods caused damage that runs well beyond the resources of small local authorities, and the UK Government’s decision not to even make an application for emergency European funds to help pay for the repair is therefore simply an injustice.
“Plaid Cymru is clear that towns on the Welsh coastline should not be left at the mercy of our sea and rivers. Investing in flood defences now will offset the future probable costs of storm damage. Plaid Cymru’s MEP Jill Evans has made the case that governments on all levels explore every option for storm help, and I urge politicians in all establishment to heed that call.”
The Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas who sits on the Committee of the Regions said:
“There is no reason for the UK Government not to apply for a grant from the EU Solidarity Fund. The Northern Ireland government has already applied for a grant from the fund to deal with the damage caused by this month’s storms. The fund was accessed by the UK Government in 2007 to help pay for damage caused by flooding in the south east of England. The Welsh Government should put as much pressure as possible on the UK Government to help the local authorities of Welsh storm-hit areas face the huge challenge that they face.”