The Labour Government has rejected the prospect of an inquiry into the third flooding for some Rhondda communities in just four months following questioning by Leanne Wood.
The Rhondda Member of the Senedd grilled the Labour Environment Minister following last week’s floods which hit many parts of the Rhondda Fach and Fawr. For some households, it was the third time they have been flooded. Last week also saw some communities – such as Maerdy - flooded for the first time this year.
With many communities vulnerable to flooding, Leanne and Plaid Cymru have called for an inquiry to ensure that causes are found and strategies are developed to protect people and homes in future. So far, more than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for an inquiry which could run along immediate remedial works.
During the plenary session, Ms Wood also called for the Government to provide flood gates for homes vulnerable to flooding and financial support for people affected by the recent floods.
She said: “After the floods in February, people in the Rhondda received £500 from the local council, £500 from the Welsh Government—more if they were uninsured, more if they were a business, and even more again from local fundraising efforts. What they didn't get was defences to stop this happening again.
“So, will you commit to providing flood gates for every home that needs one? And, will you outline what financial support might be available to people who were flooded this time? And finally, Minister, do you support an independent, expert-led inquiry into what's happened and to give us some recommendations for future mitigation?”
In reply, Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths MS said: “Again, we need to look at what the assessment is, what's needed in our flood defences. So, flood gates for every property—that hasn't crossed my desk yet, but if that came forward it's something that we could assess.245
“You referred to the £500 from Welsh Government that was given to residents back in February, and that's certainly something that we're looking at at the current time following the flooding last week.
“I think it's important that we let all the investigations come forward. They can be done much quicker than an independent inquiry, and that's what I'm waiting for.”
Afterwards, Ms Wood said: “The Labour Government are presenting the people with a false choice; an inquiry or immediate remedial works. This is complete rubbish – and they know it. Why else would Labour MPs – including the one for the Rhondda - call for a public inquiry into the causes of floods in England if they thought it would jeopardise the prospect of immediate remedial works?
“The Labour Government is attempting a political conjuring trick but instead of making a rabbit disappear into a hat, they are trying to make culpability, responsibility and leadership disappear. More than 2,000 people support the inquiry which shows that lots of people are not swallowing this stale spin.
“If more people support the inquiry, our demands will be harder for Labour to ignore.”