Why didn’t northern floods trigger emergency summit by Wales’ First Minister
Two North Wales council leaders have questioned why it took devastating floods in South Wales to trigger an emergency summit by Wales’ First Minister.
Councillor Sam Rowlands, leader of Conwy council and his Denbighshire counterpart, Cllr Hugh Evans, both questioned the judgement of Mark Drakeford, who called the Emergency Flooding Summit meeting.
They believe floods caused by Storm Ciara 11 days ago, should have brought a quicker response from Mr Drakeford.
He called the meeting after the south was hammered by Storm Dennis last weekend.
However the Welsh Government “refuted” the claim action came only after the south had been hit, saying the emergency summit was the result of the “cumulative effect” of the storms.
It also pointed out how ministers had visited many parts of Wales affected by both storms.
Conwy Council leader Cllr Sam Rowlands said: “It was good that the First Minister held the meeting tio listen to the impact of the floods over the last two weekends.
“We will use any money made available as soon as possible to support residents and businesses in Conwy.
“I am a little surprised how quickly they have found £10m in flooding money after ignoring our recommendation for a minimum funding floor for councils.
“I think people will be interested to know how quickly that happened when there was no mention of North Wales after the previous weeks floods.
“Out hearts go out to the communities in South Wales but we have had a series of storms up here affecting different communities.”
Held yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon in Cardiff, the First Minister brought a £10m package of measures to the summit designed to give relief to homes and businesses hit by the storms.
Among them were support for councils who give business rate relief to companies affected by the floods and support for uninsured homes and council tax relief for families who cannot return to their damaged homes..
North Wales local authority leaders joined by video link from Welsh Government offices in Llandudno Junction, because of the travel disruption caused by the recent bad weather.
Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire council, said: “To be honest it’s sad this meeting has been prompted by the catastrophe in South Wales.
“I just hope North Wales is part of the conversation and North Wales receives the funding it deserves.”
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said 900 homes had been flooded in South Wales but the “cumulative effect” of the storms had prompted the First Minister to act.
Ahead of the meeting Mr Drakeford said: “In recent days, Cabinet Ministers and I have been to Wrexham, Taffs Well, Llanrwst, Carmarthen, Pontypridd and Tylorstown, meeting with people who have had their homes and livelihoods devastated by the recent storms.
“It is heart-breaking to see the absolute destruction wreaked by the storms and my message to everyone I have met is that we are doing all we can to help those most in need.
“We will make urgent financial support available to people whose homes have been flooded and, in particular, help families who do not have insurance cover.”
By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter
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