Grampian must be a flood defence priority

An MSP has called for Grampian to be made a flood priority area.

Nanette Milne has also questioned why the area has been at the bottom of the SNP Government’s list for developing flood warning systems?.

The Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East has called on SNP ministers to hold talks with local authorities to take forward flood defence schemes and to set up a clear timetable of when they will be in place.

QUESTIONS

Ms Milne said this week: “I welcome the launch of SEPA’s additional flood warning service for the east coast of Scotland, however questions must be asked as to why Grampian has been at the bottom of the SNP Scottish Governments list when developing such systems.

“Local residents want to hear what action the Scottish Government will take to help North-east councils take forward flood defence schemes.

“No-one denies that paying for effective flood defence projects requires major financial commitment and, given the current financial constraints as well as the council tax freeze, councils across Scotland face very difficult decisions when it comes to funding projects like flooding schemes.

‘‘For example, the current flood defence scheme being developed for Forres in Morayshire will cost £44.2million, but such projects will only work well if the agencies work together rather than against each other. Residents have no time for the blame game; they want action to protect their properties.

“As part of the 2011 Spending Review, the Scottish Government and COSLA were quick to hail their agreement to establish a new mechanism for funding major new flood protection schemes for the period 2012-15. However, since then, the scope agreed by COSLA and SNP Ministers has seen proposals from Fife, North Ayrshire and Angus rejected.

‘‘Clearly the joined up approach from national and local government to deliver the funding for major flooding defence schemes is not working.

“I believe a timetable needs to be provided to show when local residents can expect to see a flooding defence scheme completed.

‘‘The National Flood Risk Assessment, which was undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to identify areas where significant flood risk exists, identified large parts of the North-east as ‘Potentially Vulnerable.’

‘‘The Scottish Government is right to say this is a ‘key milestone,’ but we now need to know what is going to happen.

DEVASTATION

“We have all seen at first hand the devastation which flooding brings to families, businesses, and communities and the costs faced to recover and rebuild after a flood. We cannot control mother nature and remove the threat of flooding altogether but steps can be taken to protect communities and to improve the local flood defence infrastructure.

‘‘Real investment and action is needed to improve our flood prevention schemes, improve defences and deliver better planning and accurate predictions.

“The UK Government has now provided the Scottish Government with £394m in extra capital funding.

“I hope that, given the significant additional money, the green light will now be given to provide Scottish councils with the resources they need to bringing forward investment in flood defence schemes.”