LABOUR politicians have failed to back Leanne Wood’s call for an independent inquiry into flooding in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The Member of the Senedd for the Rhondda opened a debate on the merits of impartial inquiry into the events which devastated hundreds of homes in 2020.
Despite Labour calling for an independent inquiry into flooding in England during a Westminster debate last year, they refuse to hold one in Wales where they have the power to order one. In December 2020, Plaid Cymru in Rhondda Cynon Taf commissioned a report into the floods in which all respondents unanimously backed a public inquiry.
During her debate speech, Leanne said: “We don’t know how worse weather will combine with our coal tips and underground mine workings – and we need to know. We need to know urgently.
“When we last debated this, I didn’t get answers to my questions. This time I’ll keep it simple. One question for you – if Labour MPs from RCT are calling for an inquiry into flooding in England, how can you oppose one for Wales where you have the power to instigate one?”
She also said an inquiry could look into the impact of RCT’s industrial legacy on flooding and how tree felling played its part in the flooding during Storm Dennis.
She added: “These are all things that can be analysed further in a public inquiry. We have to have an independent inquiry to look at what went wrong, who is accountable and, most importantly, what needs to happen to put things right in RCT.
“Please join Plaid Cymru and the many thousands in Rhondda Cynon Taf who have called for an independent inquiry into last year’s flooding.”
In her closing remarks, Leanne said: “We are all eagerly awaiting the imminent statutory section 19 process. But the council is leading on it so it is not independent. We in Plaid Cymru – and every single one of the flooded residents we spoke to – believed that this won’t be enough.
“It won’t give us all the answers we need. This is not about staff, or blame – I know many staff are doing a brilliant job – but this is bigger than that.”
Labour joined with the Tories in failing to back the Plaid Cymru motion calling for a public inquiry and instead voted for their own amendment which rejected a public inquiry.