Lesley Griffiths AM, Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, has refused once again to undertake an independent investigation of flood mitigation measures in the Conwy Valley. She expects Conwy County Borough Council and Natural Resources Wales to look into what needs to be done, and will await their recommendations before deciding on what action to take.
This was in response to the emergency question raised by Janet Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, who asked the following questions:
- Can the Minister tell me why the usual flood warnings by NRW were not in place in adequate time, bearing in mind the numerous news bulletins that storm Ciara was on its way?
- As this has been considered a significant incident, what funding will be available from the Welsh Government to the Local Authority to assist with the clean-up, and how will this filter through to the many residents and businesses so badly affected, some of whom have no insurance because of the level of flood risk?
- Given the shocking state of events over the weekend, will you now review the advice given to you by NRW, and support the many calls for an independent review of the flood mitigation measures in the Conwy Valley?
- Will you come to Aberconwy and visit with me some of those most affected by recent events?
Commenting on the Welsh Minister’s response, Janet said:
“I am frustrated that the Minister could not provide the reassurances I was hoping for today.
“I was in Llanrwst yesterday and saw first-hand the overwhelming damage that has been caused to many shops, businesses, and residential properties.
“To see individuals at a loss and feeling totally helpless as they fought to clear sewage and mud from their homes is heart-breaking.
“We need an independent inquiry as it would consider the picture as a whole.
“The Local Authority and Natural Resources Wales were responsible for investigating the causes of the flood last March, and look where we are now.
“My fear is that the investigations by the Local Authority and NRW will not go far enough, and that we could be seeing equally bad flooding in other areas of Llanrwst and the Conwy Valley sometime soon.
“I implore NRW and the Local Authority to prioritise the undertaking of their investigations and to share their recommendations soon.
“In the short term, the Minister needs to use the Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme to provide discretionary support to the Local Authority so to ensure that it does not face an undue financial burden through providing relief and carrying out immediate work in response to this large scale emergency”.