Flooding is a 'national emergency' in Wales, says one of Senedd's newest politicians

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Samuel Kurtz MS and Heledd Fychan MS joined Adrian Masters on The New Normal podcast

Flooding is "a national emergency" for Wales, according to one of the Senedd’s newest members.

Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan also said governments at all levels are not treating climate change with the "urgency it needs".

She made the comments in the latest edition of the ITV Wales podcast, The New Normal with Adrian Masters. 

Her concerns were echoed by another new member from a different party, the Conservative MS, Samuel Kurtz who also joined Adrian Masters on the podcast. 

Heledd Fychan is an MS for the South Wales Central region and is based in Pontypridd, which saw devastating flooding at the start of 2020. 

She said, "we're still feeling the after effects of bridges being closed", following the "sheer scale of the flooding and how many properties, businesses and structures that were affected."

Tackling climate change she said should be the number one priority.

Samuel Kurtz agreed and said that people from the same kind of rural background that he comes from can play a part.

“I'm a farmer's son. I've grown up on a farm home for my whole life, apart from my stint at university, and I know exactly how hard farmers work.

"They’re intent to do their absolute best for the stock that they keep, the environment that they protect and the countryside that they manage. It's absolutely at the forefront of their minds."

Both the UK and Welsh Governments said they have not only hit their initial targets for reducing carbon but are committed to reducing emissions to 'net zero' by 2050.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said, “We’re pleased all parties in the Senedd supported the government’s proposal for a legal requirement to reach net zero emission in Wales.

“A Team Wales approach will require all parties in the Senedd to work together to navigate the difficult choices we have to make as a society. These include reorienting our transport investment away from road schemes towards sustainable travel, curbing emissions from the agriculture sector, as well as better preparing Welsh communities for increasingly frequent intense weather events.”

The two were both elected in May and discuss what it is like being newbies in an unusual job at an even more unusual time. 

Samuel Kurtz said that he has found it to be subdued because of the limited numbers allowed actually in the chamber but adds that, “Hopefully from September, we'll be able to get a crowd back in the chamber and hopefully get that real buzz.

“Because, growing up watching politics and seeing a full chamber with Carwyn [Jones] as First Minister or Mark Drakeford as First Minister more recently, a real bustle of the full Senedd chamber - that's what I'm really looking forward to getting involved with.“

Samuel Kurtz apologised for social media posts Credit: Welsh Conservatives/PA

The Conservative MS came under fire when his new role was announced, after tweets emerged from his university days. He has since apologised for the tweets and told Adrian Masters that what he wrote was "juvenile, immature and wrong".

He added, "It was a very cold dose of reality of the life that I was stepping into. And it changed me quite quickly in that it was a very difficult period."

Heledd Fychan's view is that the public will want to know that "people have grown up and matured". She said, "I think it's up to all of us to prove."

Listen to The New Normal with Adrian Masters:

Heledd Fychan said that her first time in the chamber was "surreal" as well as being quite pressured.

“I had the joy of having the very first question of the session to the First Minister. So I was more panicking about things like getting the laptop to work and those practical things, because having never been into the chamber before and suddenly you’re there does feel slightly surreal.”

Both politicians said they are looking forward to meeting some of the Senedd members they have only met on Zoom, cross party working and even finding their way around the building.

The pair talk about plenty of other things in the wide-ranging discussion including revealing that they have both been involved in TV programmes, one as a child and one as a presenter. 

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