Plaid Cymru MS calls for flooding to be treated as a ‘national emergency’
Plaid Cymru MS Heledd Fychan has demanded more urgency from the Welsh Government on flood protection.
She says that flooding should be treated as a ‘national emergency’ but whenever she mentions the issue to ministers, ‘they’re rolling their eyes’.
The South Wales Central region she represents includes many of those areas worst hit by the series of storms in 2020 which left 3,130 properties flooded.
Speaking to the ITV’s ‘New Normal’ podcast, she said: “For those communities who are at risk of flooding, I think we need more urgency in terms of those serious conversations about what the climate emergency means for Wales.
“We’re surrounded by the sea – flooding is a national emergency and I’m not seeing that urgency from the government at the moment.
“I’m already annoying ministers, I know that. Every time I bring up flooding, they’re rolling their eyes at me but I’m just thinking you’ve got another five years of this unless you start taking it seriously.”
This week a map, produced by Climate Central, predicted those areas of Wales expected to be most vulnerable to catastrophic flooding in 2050 as a result of climate change.
It showed large parts of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea in the south as being at risk along with towns such as Llandudno, Prestatyn, Shotton and Rhyl in the north.
Heledd Fychan pledged to make climate change and flood prevention her key focus when the Senedd returns in September.
“It’s not political point-scoring, it’s something in deeply committed to and I keep speaking to those flooded,” she said.
“For them, they can’t sleep at night when it starts raining heavily. They’re looking at that river and checking messages. And we have a responsibility to tackle that.”
The Welsh Government says it has put record amounts of funding into flood and coastal schemes with £65.4m invested to help support communities.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, said in March: “As Wales looks to tackle the root causes of the climate emergency, we also have to deal with its effects, and help communities in responding to the increased likelihood of severe weather events. Sadly, ‘once in a lifetime’ flooding events are no longer once in a lifetime.
“This record £65.4million funding provided through our Flood and Coastal Risk Management Programme for 2021/22 will help support communities across Wales as they respond to increased flood risk, and comes at the end of a Senedd term which has seen record funding in flood and coastal schemes.
“This has been a key priority for the Welsh Government throughout this term, and I am proud of the record we have in reducing the risk to communities across Wales from the devastating effects of flooding and coastal erosion.”
Flood defence projects to help reduce the risks to communities have been planned for areas including Treorchy, Dyserth, Ammanford, Glynneath and Llansannan.