TAG | Flooding
Worries have emerged as part of a recent consultation response to Scottish Government plans, which will shape the nation’s future flood management response, with Angus Lib Dem Cllr David May claiming rural areas such as Angus and Mearns look certain to lose out.
The SNP government’s Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 has been described as a “big step forward … providing a unique opportunity to shape new ways of working and creating a modern, sustainable approach to flood management fit for the 21st century.”
A number of Angus communities have suffered flood misery in recent years and, at a time when major financial challenges face councils, Angus infrastructure services convener David May has attacked the way money is dished out for flood schemes. Presently under this government, funding depends on the number of properties directly affected.
Mr May said:
“The funding formula means that urban areas — by their very nature more densely populated — are going to be advantaged and areas such as Angus and Mearns will lose out.
“Having in the past year regularly visited areas affected by flooding, I call on the Scottish government to reconsider their policy.”
“Given financial pressures facing councils, so it is more important than ever to make sure we receive adequate funding and do not lose out just because of our location and population.”
Highlighting the specific across Angus, Mr May continued,
“In March this year Angus Council agreed some short term measures to improve the Barry Burn Flood Protection Scheme. However, although these short term measures have been met from the council’s roads budget it is unlikely the Council will be able to fund the potential longer term solutions under investigation for Carnoustie.”
“A similar situation exists in Arbroath, which experienced significant flooding beyond the usual risk areas. The removal of the dedicated government grant scheme has thrown plans for flood protection schemes into complete disarray. Added to this, is the confusion created by the phased introduction of the new Flood Risk Management Act (2009) which changes local authorities’ responsibilities and powers.”
“We are doing what we can locally – today we will be discussing the latest report on the Brechin Flood Protection Scheme. Although this is a relatively modest scheme by national standards, it still comes with a price tag of £13m. Flooding needs to be considered at a national level, as the resources required to properly address it are clearly beyond the financial means of local government.”
Sanjay Samani, Liberal Democrat North East Regional Candidate added his support for Mr May’s comments, saying:
“By funding the new flood prevention schemes for the new act based on population, the SNP Government is being too simplistic. They have announced funding for a new Flood Forecasting Service. The information from this service must be used to target central government funding for flood prevention.”
PHOTO: Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the site of flooding in Brechin with Provost Ruth Leslie Melville:
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham recently announced plans for a Flood Forecasting Service, providing £750,000 of Scottish Government funding. Liberal Democrat campaigner for Angus and Mearns, Sanjay Samani, welcomed the announcement, but called on the Government to do more on planning flood prevention as well as forecasting.
The announcement of the investment for flood forecasting is very welcome. We all remember the devastating effects of flooding throughout Angus, Mearns and Stonehaven last year. Local emergency services can now be better prepared in case these tragic events occur again in future.
However, ensuring that flooding is prevented is even more important than forecasting when it will happen. The SNP Government made it a requirement that Councils prepare for flooding in the Flood Risk Management Act passed by parliament last year.
The SNP Government must make use of the information from the forecasting service to ensure that funding for flood prevention is provided where it is most needed. Funding should not be based on a simplistic count of population, but has to be targeted to where flooding is most likely to occur and cause devastating damage to homes, farmland and businesses.
PHOTO: Sanjay visiting a flooding site in Brechin with Montrose Cllr David May and Provost & Brechin Cllr Ruth Leslie Melville:
I met with Brechin Cllr Ruth Leslie-Melville and Cllr David May, convener of Infrastructure Services, to discuss the flooding in Brechin and the role the council has played so far to alleviate the problems.
It is no surprise that Brechin residents are alarmed by the threat of flooding. It is clear that the council have done what they can from their roads budget, but they do not have the resources to fund what is now a £13 million project.
Furthermore, the removal of the dedicated government grants has thrown plans for flood protection schemes into complete disarray. Adding to the confusion is the phased introduction of the new Flood Risk Management Act which changes local authorities’ responsibilities and powers.
Surely the SNP government cannot expect councils like Angus to meet such significant development and delivery costs from local budgets. I back Cllr May’s call on the Scottish Government to fund the schemes in Brechin and across Angus to support local residents and businesses. It is surely obvious to the SNP Government that flooding is a national issue that needs national funding.