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Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government announce an independent review of flooding in Wales

17 May 2022 3 minute read
Flood damage in the Rhondda after Storm Dennis

An independent review of flooding events across Wales during the winter of 2020-21, has been launched, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government have announced.

Since Storm Dennis wreaked havoc across the country in February 2020, Wales has experienced a rapid increase in the frequency of storm and flood events than at any other time in recorded history.

The review, which is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, will consider evidence from investigations carried out by local authorities and Natural Resources Wales.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “The terrible flooding we have witnessed in Wales in recent years is a stark reminder of the challenges we face from climate change. These increasingly frequent, powerful weather events create widespread trauma, disruption and financial loss for families and businesses.

“We have put a thorough flood strategy in place and recently announced the largest ever package of investment to reduce flood risk across Wales, with more than £214m over the next three years to help protect at least 45,000 homes from flood risk.

“It is vital we learn from previous events to prepare us for the future, and I am delighted Professor Evans, who brings substantial experience and authority, has agreed to lead the independent review.”

‘Learning lessons’

Professor Elwen Evans QC, one of the UK’s leading criminal barristers, has been appointed to lead the review.

Professor Evans will be tasked with establishing key findings, shared concerns, lessons learned, successes and good practice, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

Plaid Cymru Designated Member Sian Gwenllian said: “We have seen the devastating impact flooding can have on our communities and businesses. Alongside taking action on climate change and ensuring Wales plays its part to tackle it, addressing flood prevention and learning from the devastating 2020-21 floods will make a difference to people’s safety and peace of mind across Wales.

“I have been working closely to develop the scope and approach to delivery of this important review as part of the Co-operation Agreement, and I look forward to the findings.”

Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales Central Heledd Fychan – who was Councillor for Pontypridd Town Ward when Storm Dennis hit in February 2020 said she welcomed the review.

“Over two years since the devastation in 2020, not all reports into the floods have been published and residents and business owners still don’t know what happened or why, or whether their homes and businesses will be safe from flooding in the future,” she said.

“People remain traumatised by what happened, and still do not feel secure in their homes every time it rains heavily. With climate change meaning the likelihood of flooding continues to grow, we must ensure that we understand what can be done by local councils and the Government to support those affected, but vitally reduce the risk to our communities.

“These events are likely to repeat themselves more frequently in all parts of Wales, so learning the lessons of these floods are vital. I welcome the fact that Plaid Cymru has been able to secure a review, which is an important first step in securing answers and justice for everybody that was affected.”

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