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Monday, August 20, 2018

Llan councillors call for mountain fire probes

Llangollen’s two county councillors have called for three separate probes into the huge mountain fire which burned on the mountainsides above the area for over four weeks.

Cllr Graham Timms and Melvyn Miles have written to Denbighshire’s chief executive, Judith Greenhalgh, calling for two enquires involving a number of agencies plus an investigation as part of the council’s own scrutiny process during which councillors can raise questions about the issue.
In their letter to the chief executive, the two councillors say:

“The devastation of wildlife left in its wake spreads over a huge area of our ward and also includes the neighbouring wards of Llandegla and Bryneglwys. The work that the AONB, Highways, streetscene etc. have done alongside the North Wales Fire Service is to be commended, with many officers in all the services working very long and unsociable hours. 

However, now that the fire is nearly out, it is time to begin reviewing the response to ensure that we can learn from what has happened. It is the most serious and long-lasting moor fire in Wales for many years. The actions taken by the services dealing with the fire need to be reviewed to ensure that the correct response was instigated and that we can learn how to deal with future incidents to ensure that the best response possible happens. 

We would like to ask for two separate enquiries.

1. A Denbighshire County Council inquiry that considers our response to the events. This would cover a range of issues in both the response made to the events as the incident unfolded and actions that could be taken to prevent future fires taking place.

2. An inquiry possibly led by the fire service involving AONB, NRW and DCC to discuss the timeline of the response, the factors behind decisions over the four weeks of the fire, representations made by the groups involved and whether different decisions could have enabled the fire to be controlled more quickly leading to less damage to the environment and the economy. 

We believe that there should be councillor involvement in both enquiries and that the local community and stakeholders should also be asked to contribute. It is only by having an open and transparent process that we can be certain that we can learn the lessons from this fire and hope that another similar fire can be prevented from occurring again.”

Cllrs Timms and Mile also want the process to include a third examination at one of DCC's scrutiny committees to “give everyone a chance to ask questions about the procedure and hopefully learn what can be done to prevent such an incident in the future”.

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