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Welsh Government must do more to protect against flood risk in Wales and to help those affected

2016 Ionawr 12 5:33 PM

The Welsh Government can and should be doing much more to help protect people in Wales against flooding, William Powell AM has said today.

William Powell has called for the Welsh Government to ensure more trees are planted to help prevent areas being flooded. He also called on the Welsh Government to consider making grants available to householders who want to make improvements to their properties.

Addressing the Chamber this afternoon, William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment, said:

"It's outrageous that the Tory UK Government hasn't even bothered to apply for EU support for British and Welsh flood victims, but the Labour Welsh Government needs to be doing more too.

"We need

William during flood clear-up operations in Mid & West Wales

William during flood clear-up operations in Mid & West Wales

to look at how this kind of flood damage can be prevented in the first place, and tree planting is one obvious solution. Studies have shown that rainwater's infiltration rate into the soil is 67 times higher under trees compared to grazed pastures. And yet the hills above many of our high risk flood areas are devoid of trees, and the Welsh Government's current target to plant 100,000 hectares of new woodland by 2030 is so far not on course to be met. That is why I am today calling on the Minister for Natural Resources to ramp up Government efforts to plant more trees. Not only will this help with flooding, but it will also help contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Welsh Government should also consider making grants available for householders and farmers in flood risk areas who want to put in place improvements to their properties or land which could enhance resilience to future flood events. This would enable those living in at-risk flood zones to take a proactive approach to protecting their assets from flooding in the future.

"Pressure must be put on the Tory UK Government to make an make an application to the EU Solidarity Fund, intended to provide financial assistance for responding to natural disasters such as the recent flooding. As a Member State, the UK has paid into this fund, to provide assistance to our citizens in such extreme situations, and the scale of the devastation across the UK is certainly sufficient to warrant an application. There is a 12-week window for these applications so this needs to happen as a matter of urgency."