Plaid will establish an independent inquiry into the RCT flooding if elected to government in May - Leanne Wood
Earlier this year, communities in the Rhondda were turned upside down with the arrival of storms and heavy rainfall.
Hundreds of people had to flee their homes when water began gushing into their homes, and washing their cars down the street during the middle of the night.
Some homes were flooded subsequently.
This extreme weather is expected to become more frequent due to climate change. The devastating flooding and damage caused is still not repaired for many almost a year on.
People in the Rhondda have faced challenge after challenge as a result of these floods. They continue to climb hurdles to access support they need and in building back their homes and their lives.
What they need now, as well as support to restore their homes, is answers and preventative measures.
We all need to understand why they were subject to such extreme damage, what preventative measures failed. We need to understand how vulnerable they are to future flooding, and most importantly – what is going to be done to protect them and their homes.
These are the answers that people here deserve, that they are owed.
Inquiries work – previously an inquiry closed down a polluting landfill site in the Rhondda after the Labour council had previously told everyone that it was all okay.
Far from being “the daftest idea I have heard” as one MP put it – it’s a chance for people to get answers and peace of mind.
They are answers that an independent inquiry would bring, something which the Labour Rhondda MP called “just about the daftest idea I have heard” during a TV interview.
The Welsh Labour Government in Wales has the power to instigate such an inquiry as they have before, but it has been dismissed as too expensive this week by its ministers.
Not too expensive for England though. In March after the flooding hit there, the Labour party pushed for an independent inquiry into the flooding in England.
Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth noted in a House of Commons debate:
“…we need to take a difficult step and recognise that more could have been done. As the climate crisis produces more severe weather more often, we will be having more flooding more often, so we need to learn the lessons.”
His colleague, Labour MP for Reading East Matt Rodda, added that “Following such a major series of incidents as we have faced during this autumn and winter, the normal response in the House, and from any sensible Government, would be to request an independent inquiry.”
So by that, by Labour’s own logic, is it fair to conclude that Welsh Labour’s response to the flooding in Wales is not that of a ‘sensible Government’?
Wouldn’t a sensible Government listen to the communities affected, and do everything in its power to get to the root causes of the flooding, without favour?
An independent inquiry gives us the best shot at coming up with lasting solutions to the problem.
As Ruth Jones, Labour MP for Newport West said in the same debate in March “a review is not a public inquiry. It is different, and it has a different remit and function. We need to learn lessons and get things right for the future”.
The Welsh Labour’s limited efforts so far have not gone far enough, and the community know it.
This is evident considering every single one of the 137 people surveyed in our report from Rhondda Cynon Taf back Plaid Cymru’s call for an independent inquiry.
A Plaid Cymru Government will instigate an independent inquiry if there isn’t one in place by May.
Too many people tell me what the woman in Treorci quoted in the report has said: that they cannot sleep whenever it rains at night.
How can Labour justify calling for one thing in England yet not support the same for their own constituents in here in Wales?
Are those constituents are not as worthy of answers, solutions, and safety as those who have been affected across the border?
I would love to hear an explanation from a Labour politician, but I suspect we are not going to get one.