Fair play on flood funding

Plaid AM’s plea for the North

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has hit out over funding for flood victims in the North.

Llyr Gruffydd AM spoke in the Senedd during a debate about ongoing flooding in Wales.

He said: “Over the past month, a series of storm events have battered Wales and their effects are still ongoing and could potentially be with us for months to come. The impact on individual households and businesses has been catastrophic – and I pay tribute to the work done by emergency services and council staff in coordinating the rescue and relief efforts.

“But it’s clear there is uneven support. The first areas affected by Storm Ciara were in the North – Llanrwst, Llanfair TalHaiarn and Trefriw saw more than 100 households and dozens of businesses flooded out. This was three weeks ago and the mopping up is still ongoing.

“The impact in Valleys areas was equally devastating and has dominated the headlines. But while residents in Rhondda Cynon Taff have been told they will receive £500 from the local council, Conwy Council is not providing similar support for the 100+ households flooded or the 25-30 businesses affected. Some of these businesses are still closed and will not open until next week, so you can imagine the impact this is having on their finances.”

Mr Gruffydd added: “Many of the homes affected in Llanrwst are owned by Registered Social Landlords, Cartrefi Conwy and Cynefin. Many will need flood gates to be installed to safeguard these homes against future flooding episodes. This is a specific and unavoidable cost that will impact these RSLs and their tenants.

“Looking ahead, flooded areas will also face higher insurance premiums, if they can get insurance at all for flooding. With this in mind will the Welsh Government provide a uniform level of support for the people affected. Financial support is only part of the package but as a stopgap for any household facing unexpected and extraordinary costs, it is a vital bridge, while for businesses it could be the difference between remaining open and closing.

“Local councillors also tell me that a better coordinated approach to ensuring gulleys are cleaned regularly by both the local council and the North Wales Trunk Road Agency (which is responsible for gulleys on the trunk road running through Llanrwst). Sometimes the focus is on the larger picture of flood defence and millions of pounds spent on big projects while the more mundane work of keeping culverts clear and unclogging gulleys is neglected due to ongoing pressure on council resources.

“As we’re expecting more extreme weather, simple measures can help alleviate and prevent future crises. The cost, both financial and emotional, for those affected by these floods in all parts of Wales and beyond is way way more than some simple preventative measures.”

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