Rhondda Cynon Taf flooding: Calls for public inquiry

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Families had to be rescued from their homes when the River Taff burst its banks in Nantgarw

A petition calling for an independent public inquiry into flooding in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) this year will be considered by Senedd Members after it gathered more than 6,000 signatures.

More than a thousand businesses and homes were affected when the county was battered by two storms in February.

The petition will be considered by the petitions committee on Tuesday.

But minister Lesley Griffiths has said she does not believe a public inquiry is needed "at this stage".

In February, flooding associated with Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis overwhelmed defences across Wales.

Some flood warning systems failed, homes and businesses were inundated and areas that had not seen flooding for many decades were left underwater.

The floods devastated RCT and left it with an £80m clean-up bill.

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Image caption,
Pontypridd was one of the worst affected areas of the UK from Storm Dennis

Last month, council leader Andrew Morgan said work to ensure Wales avoided significant flooding in the future could "easily" cost more than £500m and was needed in the next decade.

The petition, submitted by Plaid Cymru councillor Heledd Fychan, reads: "People and businesses across Rhondda Cynon Taf need an inquiry into the flooding that has hit so many of our communities this year, with some affected three times since February."

It calls for "appropriate steps" to be taken to "rectify any issues so that similar damage can be prevented from reoccurring".

But in a letter to chairwoman of the petitions committee Janet Finch-Saunders, Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths seemed to pour cold water on the campaign.

"I understand and share your wish to see the risk of future flooding reduced as quickly as possible," Ms Griffiths said.

"I do not agree however an independent inquiry is required at this stage."

Ms Griffiths said RCT council needed to "complete its statutory review of flooding" before deciding whether an inquiry was needed.

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