South Scotland

Flood protection strategy announced during Newton Stewart visit

Newton Stewart during flooding Image copyright Chris Cadman-Goodwin
Image caption Newton Stewart was badly affected during winter storms

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a 10-year flood protection strategy designed to protect more than 10,000 homes.

The announcement was made during a visit to Newton Stewart which was badly affected by winter storms.

The plan is backed by grant funding of £420m and follows agreement between the Scottish government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla).

It will be used to deliver 40 new flood protection projects across Scotland.

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The funding will also support local flood risk management plans.

More than 130 flood protection studies will be carried out to help find potential solutions for another 26,000 residential properties currently at risk.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Earlier this year I saw first hand the devastating effects of mother nature as storms battered our communities.

"Last December is on record as the wettest and saw levels at rivers across Scotland overflow."

She said the Dumfries and Galloway town of Newton Stewart had been particularly badly hit.

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Media captionFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had seen first hand the effect of flooding

Ms Sturgeon said: "When I visited Newton Stewart on New Year's Eve I met local butchers Kenny and Yolanda Owen at John D Owen & Son on what would have been their busiest day.

"Tragically all their stock was knee deep in water which not only has a massive impact on the business but also on the wider community who were relying on them.

"As I walked down the high street what struck me was the resilience of this small community as they supported each other."

She said that seven months later the community had "rallied round" and businesses were "getting back on their feet and returning to normal".

'Significant risk'

Ms Sturgeon added: "However, the implications of the storm will be felt for a while yet and we need to work together to minimise any potential future disruption.

"This agreement will give local authorities the certainty they need to deliver the actions set out in their local flood risk management plans to help protect individuals, business and communities from the danger of flooding."

Councillor Stephen Hagan, Cosla spokesman for development, economy and sustainability, said protecting communities was at the heart of local government.

He explained: "Climate change, and the associated increase in flooding events, poses a significant national risk.

"This is why investment in flood protection schemes and associated infrastructure is critical to protecting vulnerable householders, businesses and communities, and why the strong working relationship between local and Scottish government is so important."

Image copyright Chris Cadman-Goodwin
Image caption First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had seen first hand the effect of flooding

However, some businesses in the town have criticised the time it has taken to deliver any action.

Linda McClelland, who runs a hairdressers, said she was concerned there had been no action to shore up a large breach in the river wall where the River Cree burst through.

She said: "We are seven months into the year and absolutely nothing has been done to help fix this wall in the town.

"Winter is coming fast and unfortunately we do get a lot of rain round here. So there is every chance it could flood again."

Ross Cunningham, who owns an outdoor clothing firm, was also worried about the lack of action to reduce the flood risk.

"It is 199 days since the flood in Newton Stewart and something needs to happen," he said.

"We have a business in England in the Lake District which was flooded as well about 30 days before this one.

"The difference is quite surprising - they have done a lot more a lot quicker than they have over the border."

Flood prevention funding breakdown for 2016/17 by local authority
Authority Funding in millions of pounds
Aberdeen City 0.967
Aberdeenshire 7.104
Angus 2.195
Argyll & Bute 0.194
Clackmannanshire 0.085
Dumfries and Galloway 1.707
Dundee City 5.799
East Ayrshire 0.994
East Dunbartonshire 0.429
East Lothian 0.746
East Renfrewshire 0.100
Edinburgh 0.242
Eilean Siar 0.363
Falkirk 2.952
Fife 0.370
Glasgow 1.456
Highland 2.510
Inverclyde 0.415
Midlothian 0.071
Moray 1.530
North Ayrshire 1.808
North Lanarkshire 0.085
Orkney 1.416
Perth & Kinross 0.962
Renfrewshire 0.370
Scottish Borders 1.620
Shetland 0.007
South Ayrshire 0.064
South Lanarkshire 0.299
Stirling 1.277
West Dunbartonshire 0.242
West Lothian 0.114

Which council area is getting what?

Aberdeen City - £967,000

Aberdeenshire - £7.1m

Angus - £2.2m

Argyll & Bute - £194,000

Clackmannanshire - £85,000

Dumfries and Galloway - £1.7m

Dundee City - £5.8m

East Ayrshire - £994,000

East Dunbartonshire - £429,000

East Lothian - £746,000

East Renfrewshire- £100,000

Edinburgh - £242,000

Eilean Siar - £363,000

Falkirk - £2.9m

Fife - £370,000

Glasgow- £1.4m

Highland - £2.5m

Inverclyde - £415,000

Midlothian - £71,000

Moray - £1.5m

North Ayrshire - £1.8m

North Lanarkshire - £85,000

Orkney - £1.4m

Perth & Kinross - £962,000

Renfrewshire - £370,000

Scottish Borders -£1.6m

Shetland - £7,000

South Ayrshire - £64,000

South Lanarkshire- £299,000

Stirling -£1.3m

West Dunbartonshire - £242,000

West Lothian - £114,000

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