Help available to eligible householders affected by internal flooding during February storms

Letter to households impacted by the flooding during February storms.

The global Covid19 pandemic is having a major impact on all of our lives. The single most important action we can take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. However, I am mindful for those households affected by the February floods, coping with the impacts of Covid19 will be even more challenging.

I am aware some households may be living in temporary accommodation, whilst others may have stayed in damaged properties. Some households may need further support to safely self-isolate and adhere to guidelines around social distancing. My colleague Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, has made £10 million available for Local Authorities and written to specific households impacted by flooding to provide further advice and highlight where support is available.

The First Minister of Wales announced an additional £10 million package of measures available to all households affected by internal flooding of their primary residence as a result of the February storms.

With the support of Local Authorities, we have undertaken an assessment of the additional needs of those affected by the February floods in relation to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have extended the deadline for individuals to access support through the Discretionary Assistance Fund to ensure all eligible individuals make a claim. The £10m of additional support for homelessness can also be used to support victims of flooding where their housing situation is a barrier to observing government guidelines on protecting themselves against the virus.

We are taking action to make sure help and support is available when you need it.

I am committed to investment to improve flood protection to communities. Additional funding for new flood defences and to repair flood defences damaged during February’s storms has been made available to all councils and Natural Resources Wales.

My department’s work on flood risk management is a core component of our response to the climate emergency and I remain committed to making all necessary funding available for this work to continue. Following the February floods, I have made available increased revenue funding for local authorities to support flood risk management. Alongside the increased funding in the coming year, I have increased flood and coastal risk management budgets for Natural Resources Wales and local authorities. Local authorities will see a 50% budget increase for flood protection work. Separately, the Welsh Government has fully funded local authorities to carry out the necessary work to repair flood defences damaged in February, providing £2.8 million so far.

Whilst the impact of the pandemic has made delivery of this work more challenging we are determined that it should continue to help protect our communities.

Following the February landslip in Tylorstown, I commissioned an urgent review of spoil tip safety. A new Coal Tip Safety Policy Taskforce was established and my officials have been working tirelessly to take forward this work upholding standards and protecting for our communities.

A new free phone helpline 0800 021 9230 was announced enabling any member of the public to report future concerns. My thoughts are with you all during these difficult times.

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM
Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs