The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (17 September) urged the Welsh Government to impose statutory time limits on the publication of flood investigation reports. The intervention by Mrs Finch-Saunders comes after she supplied the Welsh Minister with a copy of her own report into local flooding concerns, earlier this year, and that seven months on, some communities are still waiting for publication of investigation reports.
A section 19 flood investigation report is a statutory requirement of lead local authorities in the aftermath of a local flooding event, with the report providing recommendations designed to mitigate the future risk of such incidents. Seven months after Storm Ciara caused widespread flooding throughout the Conwy Valley, the publication of this urgent report remains pending.
Commenting on the situation faced by local residents, Janet said:
“The process of lead local flood authorities investigating floods in Wales is often too slow, lacking in transparency, and has left residents in limbo. Whilst I welcome the positive actions that my lead local flood authority has taken to start work on much needed flood alleviation schemes in Llanrwst, seven months on, we are still awaiting the section 19 flood report.
According to S.19(1), Flood and Water Management Act 2010, on becoming aware of a flood in its area, a lead local flood authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood. Additionally, where an authority carries out an investigation it must publish the results of its investigation and notify any relevant risk management authorities.
Mrs Finch-Saunders added:
"The people of Llanrwst and communities across Wales deserve clarity as to when investigations should be completed, and the report's recommendations delivered.
“It is consistently taking an unacceptably long period for section 19 reports to be delivered, with a delay from December 2015 to July 2016 to finish a report for Betws-y-Coed and a delay from December 2015 to September 2016 for a report relating to Dolwyddelan. I am informed that a number of inquiry reports which investigate flood instances around the Taff-Ely are also pending publication.
“I have now called upon the Welsh Government to address this urgent point of concern by setting a realistic and reasonable statutory timeframe for these publications, so that future communities are not left adrift when waiting for the clarity that will allow them to rebuild their lives.
“This would require a small amendment to a provision in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 – a move which would certainly find cross party support in the chamber of the Welsh Parliament. It is about time that the Welsh Government helps to deliver the transparency that the public deserves.”