The news that Angus Council are applying for a £12m grant from the Scottish Government for flood defences in Brechin is highly welcome. However the SNP Government needs to change the funding formula for flood defences and Angus Council need to reconsider their recent decision to cut funding for flood defences for Edzell.
Responding to the decision, Lib Dem Cllr David May commented,
“This is a positive move by Angus Council and there should be cross party support for the application for funding from the Scottish Government. As a member of the Angus Council administration in 2009, I called for financial aid from the SNP Government for the Brechin Flood defence scheme five years ago. It is welcome that a formal application has now been made.”
“Having visited the site of flooding in Brechin in 2009, I expressed my frustration at the time about the SNP Government’s funding formula that left Angus at a severe disadvantage. At the moment the Scottish Government uses a crude formula based on population, that boosts funding for big cities at the expense of rural communities such as Angus.”
“Angus Council should also work with the River South Esk Catchment Partnership to ensure that the flood defence schemes are sustainable and do not simply transfer the problem from Brechin to Montrose.”
From my perspective, this news is very welcome. However I do wonder whether it would have been necessary to apply for such a large grant, if the SNP Government had not changed the way flood defence funding is distributed in Scotland in 2009.
Had the SNP Government responded to our calls to change the funding formula, Angus Council may have had substantially more funds to deal with flooding in Brechin and elsewhere in Angus quite some time ago.
We now have detailed maps of the whole of Scotland showing where risks of flooding are the greatest. It will come as no surprise that rural communities in Angus are some of the most at risk. We therefore repeat our call on the Scottish Government to change the flood defence funding formula to be based on need not just a crude headcount.
Both Cllr David May and I have also called on Angus Council to reconsider their decision to cut funding for a flood defence scheme in Edzell.
Cllr David May said,
“Flooding in December 2012 left well over £1m of damage to homes and property in Edzell. I voted against the decision to cut the £600,000 scheme that would have prevented this from happening in Edzell again.”
Across Angus, in Brechin, Montrose, Arbroath and elsewhere, flooding has had a devastating, expensive impact. The SNP administrations on Angus Council and in the Scottish Government should be working together to ensure that Angus receives the funding it needs to address funding across the whole of Angus, as well as Brechin.