- March 31, 2017
- Posted by: Vikki Howells AM
- Category: Latest News
In response to a question from Assembly Member Vikki Howells, Welsh Government Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant AM has issued a strong message to those who have deliberately started grass fires. The Cynon Valley AM tabled the Urgent Question after South Wales Fire and Rescue reported dozens of fires since 24 March. The Communities Secretary said: “The message is quite simple: we will be coming to look for the people and the individuals who started these fires, and will prosecute them if we find them.”
At the time the Cynon Valley AM spoke (28 March), South Wales Fire and Rescue Services had attended 62 grass fires, with a large number in Rhondda Cynon Taf and evidence suggesting that many were deliberately lit.
Figures from earlier in the year showed that deliberate grass fires were up 33 per cent in 2015-16 on the year before, despite an overall reduction in this type of incident.
Vikki Howells AM said:-
“The challenge for fire services was also in the ferocity of the blazes, which posed a danger to the safety of service personnel, and to our communities.
“How is the Welsh Government working with partner agencies to really get the message out there about the risks that these fires cause?”
Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant AM replied:-
“We have worked with the fire service, the police, local authorities, Natural Resources Wales and others to establish a coherent and strategic approach to preventing and responding to grass fires.
“Initial figures show that this approach, working with partners, has been highly effective. The overall number of grass fires in 2016 was over 40 per cent lower than the year before.
“But it doesn’t help residents and emergency services over this weekend who have been having to tackle unlawful fire-starting.
“The message is quite simple, Llywydd: we will be coming to look for the people and the individuals who started these fires, and will prosecute them if we find them.”