A MINISTER with responsibility for reducing flood risk has agreed to hold further discussions with Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane on outstanding issues relating to flooding.
Speaking at a special Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons called by the Labour Party, Mr Ruane raised a number of points with the DEFRA minister Dan Rodgerson about the impact of flooding which has hit the Vale of Clwyd over the past two years.
In his speech Mr Ruane raised the impact that flooding had, had on constituents in the Vale of Clwyd adding: “I have visited the people of St Asaph and Rhyl whose homes were flooded. Flooding has a massive impact on individuals.
“It is not just the flooding, or the six months after when their houses are drying out and being rebuilt, but the fact that it leads to stresses and strains.
“There was one direct death in St Asaph in the floods of 2012, but I believe that many more indirect deaths resulted from the stress caused to elderly people.
“I visited the people of the Rhyl East ward whose homes were up to 3 feet deep in murky brown water.
"They have been through hell and high water. The floods have left a legacy in my constituency.”
According to statistics given to Mr Ruane on 17 December 408 households in the Vale of Clwyd flooded in the two-year period from 2011 to 2013, which is the second highest number in the UK.
Additionally, figures obtained by Mr Ruane also show that the Environment Agency believes for every pound invested in flood defence, there is an £8 return.
“The Government are not doing that. They are not putting the investment in place,” he added.
“The Prime Minister did not visit my constituency to speak to the flood victims.
“The Prime Minister came to a constituency in west Wales to announce the UK––or rather English-only––increase in funding......it was an insult to the people of Wales to treat them in such cavalier fashion.”
The issue of afforestation, which involves planting trees up land and can be a low cost method of reducing the amount of water running into rivers and streams, was also raised by Mr Ruane.
In some areas where farmers had engaged in linear contour planting of trees, to provide some shade and shelter for their sheep flooding in the flood plain was reduced.
“Planting trees on just five per cent of the hillside led to a 29 per cent reduction in flooding in the flood plain,” said Mr Ruane.
“We need specific targeted measures for such linear contour planting in the catchment areas of our big rivers, and even our little rivers....it would be a sound investment...a line of trees that has been planted is 67 times more effective in getting rainwater into the ground than grass alone.”
Mr Ruane is now looking to have meetings with the Shadow Labour Environment team in London and Alun Davies, the Welsh Minister with responsibility for flooding.
In response during the debate the Lib Dem coalition Minister Dan Rodgerson the minister stated that he would be happy to talk to Mr Ruane if he wants to raise any further issues.
See full story in the Free Press