§ 12. Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will visit Blaenau Ffestiniog to view the flood damage.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
Neither my right hon. Friend nor I plan to do so in the immediate future. As the hon. Member knows, Welsh Office officials met Meirionydd district council and others on 31 October to discuss all aspects of the recent floods, and I have received a full report.
§ Mr. Thomas
Does the Minister accept that that disappointing reply reflects the Government's lack of concern about the serious situation which exists? Can he give an assurance that in Meirionydd the Government's public expenditure policy will not prevent the spending of the £200,000 which is required to restore the situation to the pre-flood position? Can he also give an assurance that the expenditure of another £350,000, as a minimum spending for remedial work on storm drains and so on, will be put in hand with the assistance of his Department.
§ Mr. Roberts
The hon. Gentleman must believe me when I say that the absence of a visit from my office does not show a lack of concern. He will know that under section 138 of the Local Government Act 1972 the local authorities have powers to alleviate the effects of flooding and to assist those affected. Under the Land Drainage Act 1976, they also have powers to carry out flood prevention works. Grants of up to 50 per cent. of the cost of approved local authority land drainage schemes are available, and my right hon. Friend will consider an application from Meirionydd district council as sympathetically as possible.
§ Mr. Garel-Jones
My hon. Friend will be aware that there are many large slate tips in the area of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Can he reassure the people who live in that area that those slate tips are safe after the considerable floods that have occurred?
§ Mr. Roberts
I can assure my hon. Friend that the quarry waste tip above the town is stable. That assurance has 21 been given to me by the mines and quarries division of the Health and Safety Executive.