Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth raised an urgent question in the Assembly chamber today regarding the recent floods on Anglesey, and specifically the damage caused to the A545.
Having raised the risks to the road with Welsh Government more than once in the past, Rhun made an appeal to Welsh Government to see what financial support could be given to put right the damage caused by the floods, and was pleased to hear that the Government would consider a request for financial support.
Speaking at the Assembly today, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:
“May I, on behalf of the Assembly, send our sympathy to everyone who was affected by the floods? I have visited most of the areas affected and it is heartbreaking to see the impact on homes, the pain and anxiety caused for people, many of them vulnerable, and businesses have also suffered — businesses like Becws Glandwr in Llangefni, for example, who was unable to bake for the first time in 40 years.
“There are many elements of the floods where I’ll need to be in touch with Government and its agencies in terms of flood prevention, but I am pleased to have this opportunity to specifically discuss the damage caused to the A545 between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris, and the long-term impacts of that.
“I do want to congratulate the council for responding quickly. I spoke to engineers on Friday, as they carried out emergency works in order to try and reopen that road, and that was on a very steep slope that went directly to the sea. I do very much hope that one lane of the two will be open soon, because at the moment there is no road open for all vehicles to travel to Beaumaris at all. It’s possible for cars to use back roads, but I’ve spoken to businesses who have to travel with vans to meet lorries that deliver goods to them but can’t get to Beaumaris at all because of low bridges into the town.
“There have been many landslides on this particular road in the past, but they were landslides onto the road from above. This time, it’s been a landslide from the road towards the sea. That is far more serious because it threatens the foundations of the road itself, of course. In the past, I’ve drawn the Government’s attention to the fears that works need to be done to strengthen this road substantially to safeguard it for the future, and the costs are going to be significant.
“So, may I appeal to Government to see what financial support can be provided to the Isle of Anglesey County Council first of all, in order to put right the damage caused by these floods—that’s likely to be £0.25 million—but also to do the strengthening work required for the long-term resilience? Beaumaris and the east of Anglesey can’t afford to be isolated in this way, and without investment now and support from Government I fear that that is what will happen more and more often in the future.”
In his response, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport said that he was willing to consider a request for financial support to address this matter. In response to Rhun’s questions, he said:
“Can I thank the Member for the previous question, Presiding Officer, and add my sympathies to those who are affected by the floods, not just the motorists who were largely featured in the media but also the many businesses and home owners who were affected by recent floods?
“The Member was right to outline the A545 as the responsibility of the Isle of Anglesey council, but my officials have already met with the local authority to discuss possible ways of improving the road’s infrastructure and its resilience, and I’ve been in correspondence with the local authority with regard to the landslip experienced on the A545. I’m pleased to be able to say that I have already confirmed my willingness to consider a request for financial support to address such problems, and I also understand that the local authority are having discussions with Beaumaris Town Council on a possible improvement that could be partly funded as well by the town council. Between all of us working together, I hope that we will be able to bring greater security to the people of Beaumaris and indeed Anglesey and ensure that future floods do not affect people in the way that these floods recently have done.”