- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Feature, Media
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It’s been a wet start to the year. Again. Flooding is a top priority for the Welsh Government. It has pledged to protect an extra 45,000 properties by 2026. This financial year alone, ministers have committed more than £71 million to flood risk management activities – the biggest ever budget. That money will fund new flood defences, maintenance of existing assets, development of future schemes, natural flood relief, property resilience, mapping, modelling, and awareness raising. You can explore the online interactive map by searching: ‘Wales Flood and Coastal Capital Investment 2022-23’.
But this month’s high water levels have already brought disruption and anxiety, particularly to those Powys communities that have experienced flooding in recent years. Thankfully, there’s lots of good advice and information available on the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) website, and elsewhere, to help people prepare. However, online information doesn’t reach everyone equally. When I discussed this with the First Minister at Senedd question time last week he mentioned Llandinam, where eight properties were flooded last February. The residents evacuated from their homes were all older people – online weather warnings and information was probably not the best way to reach them. So, starting next Monday, the Welsh Government will be consulting on how to ensure that everyone has access to convenient and reliable information when they need it. Please have your say at: www.gov.wales/consultations.
NRW is looking at the situation in Llandinam – and a recent public meeting discussed how to better protect the low-lying village from the Severn. Elsewhere, the Environment Agency has assured Welsh ministers that it will step back from releasing water from the Vyrnwy and Clywedog reservoirs, which it had been doing at the start of the year. It is always a concern for people living downstream but the government is in regular contact with the agency about the operating arrangements for both reservoirs, the First Minister said.
As I write, it looks like we’re in for a period of settled weather until the end of the month. Great. But with flooding it’s a case of hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. That is what the Welsh Government will continue to do.
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