THERE have been calls this week for action to be taken by central government to help north east councils develop flood defence schemes.
Nanette Milne, Conservative MSP for the North East, made the comments after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) launched its new east coast flood warning service.
She said: “I welcome the launch of SEPA’s additional flood warning service for the east coast of Scotland. Local residents want to hear what action the Scottish Government will make available 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 major projects like flooding schemes.
“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. And this comes at a time we are heading into the autumn and winter period after one of the wettest years on record.”
Dr Milne added that a timetable should be drawn up, showing resident when they can expect to see the completion of a flooding defence scheme.
She said: “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 are needed to improve our flood prevention schemes, improve flood defences and deliver better planning and accurate flood predictions.
“The UK Government has now provided the SNP Scottish Government with £394 million in extra capital funding. I hope that given the significant additional money provided to SNP Ministers by the UK Government the green light will now be given to provide Scottish Councils with the resources they need to bring forward investment in flood defence schemes.”