In the Senedd this week, Clwyd West AM Darren Millar invited the new Welsh Government Environment Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM, to visit Old Colwyn’s flood defences to witness first hand their fragility.
Darren has long been calling on the Welsh Government to take action to improve the sea defences before a serious incident occurs and raising the matter again yesterday said work on the defences is even more crucial following recent storms which have caused them to erode further.
He called on the Minister to visit the site to inspect the defences herself and said leadership from the Welsh Government is vital if they are to be protected.
Speaking in the Senedd, he said:
“I would like to put on record my thanks to the Welsh Government for the investment that it's made in flood defences in my constituency. However, you will be aware that there is one particularly fragile part of the sea defences in the area of Old Colwyn, which protects the main sewerage network, the A55 trunk road, the Colwyn Bay promenade and, indeed, the North Wales railway line.
“We saw some dramatic storms earlier this month, which have further undermined those defences, and it's now becoming critical that they are upgraded and improved in order to protect that vital infrastructure that I just mentioned.
“Your predecessor in terms of holding the portfolio for flood defences was kind enough to visit the constituency to learn more about the concerns of Conwy County Borough Council in relation to the fragility of those defences, and I'd like to extend an invitation for you to come and visit as well, to see for yourself some of the challenges that are faced.
“I think what is absolutely clear is that this is going to require some leadership from the Welsh Government in terms of a commitment to bringing forward some investment in order to bring those other partners, which also have some responsibility, including the local authority, Welsh Water, National Rail, et cetera, to the table. But I would be grateful if you could visit the constituency to meet with Conwy County Borough Council, some of the other partners and myself in order to explore a way forward.”
In her response the Minister neither accepted nor declined the invitation, but insisted that “the leadership really needs to come from the local authority in getting these third parties together”.
Darren added: “We have experienced some extreme weather conditions in the past couple of years and every time people are living in fear. The Welsh Government needs to stop passing the buck on this and start showing leadership so the defences can be improved before it is too late.”