THE Member of the Senedd for the Rhondda has implored political rivals to put aside differences to unite over an independent flood inquiry.
Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood called on fellow Members of the Senedd to “do the right thing and put flood victims first” during an impassioned speech during a debate which was triggered after nearly 6,000 people signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry.
The petition was submitted by Heledd Fychan, a Plaid Cymru councillor in Pontypridd who is aiming to become the next MS for Pontypridd.
The floods in February of this year devastated hundreds of homes and many communities scattered across Rhondda Cynon Taf. Earlier this week, Plaid Cymru produced a report which looked at the experiences of flood victims. Of the 137 people who responded, every one backed an independent inquiry into the floods.
During the debate, Labour MS’s voted to ‘note the petition’ but made it clear in their contributions that an independent inquiry was not on their agenda.
In her speech, Leanne said: “Those who oppose an independent inquiry argue that it would take too long and it would be too expensive. It need not be neither.
“You cannot put a price on safeguarding people and their homes. You also cannot put a price on giving people the peace of mind that has been absent from so many since February of this year.
“The woman from Treorci who has been repeatedly flooded and now cannot sleep whenever it rains at night. There are so many stories like this. An inquiry would get to the root causes of the flooding, without favour.
“It would be our best shot at coming up with lasting solutions. A sticking plaster approach will not suffice.
“I implore all Members of this Senedd but especially those of you who have not been minded to support a flood inquiry to date. It is not too late to do the right thing. It is not too late to put the flood victims first. A vote for this today strengthens the case for an inquiry which will Identify what went wrong and why?
“An inquiry can chart how much finance is needed and identify where we need to invest in flood defences and flood prevention measures in the future. We know extreme weather is predicted to be more frequent in the future because of the climate crisis. We need to be prepared and the only way to ensure that we are prepared is to understand what happened this year and what needs to happen to put things right.
“I implore you to work with us – work to support a flood inquiry today…..not for my benefit or for Plaid Cymru’s benefit, but for the many people in our communities who were flooded this year. They should not have to go through that trauma again.”
The petition for an independent flood inquiry will now be considered further in the New Year by the petitions committee.