Plaid Cymru’s leader has criticised the Welsh Government’s funding of flood defences.
Whilst visiting people affected by the flooding in Trehafod, near Pontypridd, Adam Price AM said the current level of investment is “not adequate” or “at the scale that is necessary now.”
Both Mr Price and the First Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, were in The Valleys today speaking to people who are trying to come to terms with the damage left by Storm Dennis.
Many areas in south Wales were heavily flooded with South Wales Police declaring a “major incident” as people were evacuated from their homes.
Adam Price described the “heart-wrenching” stories he heard from people whose houses had been damaged by flood water.
He said that whilst it is good that Welsh Government “is offering financial support to the Local Authority areas affected”, Wales needs a “review of flooding policy.”
Flooding emergencies at this scale are becoming more frequent….and also the scale of the flooding in physical terms is getting higher and that is why it is overwhelming the existing infrastructure. We are not investing overall in flood defence methods and infrastructure at the scale that is necessary now.
– ADAM PRICE AM, LEADER OF PLAID CYMRU
Mr Price added that he would be asking questions of the Welsh Government like whether the country should have a Cobra-style national emergency response system that deals with flooding disasters.
Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru county councillor for Pontypridd, said the ordeal has been “horrific”.
The town will need a lot of support to recover from the devastation of the floods.
We have all been pulling together. I have been out helping residents get temporary accommodation, food and shelter.
We are all ready to pull together but we need more help and support from the council and the Welsh Government.
– CLLR HELEDD FYCHAN, PLAID CYMRU
Mark Drakeford was also in Pontypridd speaking to people living there and seeing the damage firsthand. He said that the Welsh Government and the local authorities will be making a plan for how to get help to people “quickly and…effectively”.
He added that some extreme weather events, like that which Storm Ciara and Dennis brought, are difficult to predict but acknowledged that they are more likely to happen in the future.
There are some events you just cannot predict and the best flood defences in the world would not have stood up to some of the damage we saw this weekend.
We have to look to the future and recognise that in an era of global warming, events of the sort we have seen, not just one weekend but two weekends in a row in Wales.
We have to plan in a different way because this sort of thing may well be a much more common part of our futures.
– MARK DRAKEFORD AM, FIRST MINISTER OF WALES
Mr Drakeford also said that Welsh Government will be spending £350 million on flood defences over the next Assembly term.
Areas like Nantgarw, Aberdulais and parts of Monmouthshire were severely affected by Storm Dennis as streets were left underwater.
Hundreds of businesses and homes had to be evacuated.
The clean-up operation begun today as people returned to their properties to assess the damage.
Several local rugby clubs and community centres around south Wales have opened their doors offering shower facilities and food for people displaced.