Mark Drakeford defends investment into flood defences in Wales

Mark Drakeford has defended the Welsh Government’s investment into flood defences following widespread damage caused by Storm Dennis.

The First Minister visited several homes on Monday in one of South Wales’ worst hit-communities, Oxford Street in Nantgarw, which saw heavy flooding on the weekend leaving properties and businesses ruined.

Mr Drakeford responded to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, who had earlier said the current level of investment in flood prevention “clearly isn’t adequate”.

The Welsh Labour leader told the PA News agency: “There has been major investment in flood defences, and the impact of the events over the weekend would’ve been even worse if it weren’t for the investment that had already been made.

“Of course there is more to do. We have a £350 million investment programme over this Assembly term in flood and coastal flooding programmes.

“The impact of global warming is real and there for anyone to see, the science tells us we will have to face in greater frequency these intense weather events in future.

“And we will have to make sure that in our planning – whether in emergency planning, flood relief planning or planning for having people on the ground – that we take into account the best advice we can get from the UK climate change committee, which guides our actions in this area.”

The Emergency Coordination Centre Wales – which coordinates teams from the police, fire, military, and health sectors – was in operation on Sunday, which the First Minister said had a “very well established set of mechanisms to deal with emergencies of this sort”.

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Government would work with local authorities to repair infrastructure damage by flooding including bridges, roads and existing flood defences.

He also said it would explore whether there were funds available to help flood victims local authorities and emergency services on Wednesday.

Mr Drakeford said: “For individuals our first focus will be on those families who don’t have any form of insurance who lost everything and have no way of replacing it.

“We’ve been working already to see whether there are funds we might be able to identify and, if we can, then we will be then looking to find a mechanism in which we can give our money to those who need it the most as quickly as we can.”

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