D&G Councillors Ask for Government Rethink on Flooding Criteria


Dumfries and Galloway Councillors at yesterday’s meeting of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee (13 January) asked for the Scottish Government to rethink their criteria for allocating funding for flood protection schemes.

The move came after councillors expressed concern that villages in rural areas were not entitled to Government funding for flood protection schemes. In light of recent flooding events in Dumfries and Galloway impacting on number of smaller communities, the Council are urging the Government to reconsider how these communities can be supported in order to deliver flood protection schemes in these local communities.

The committee were provided with a detailed account of the impact Storm Desmond and Storm Frank had on the towns and villages across our region. The emergency response was one of the biggest in recent years and ensured we kept people safe and they received the care they needed.

At the committee, the Chair Colin Smyth informed Councillors that although the additional funding for Storm Frank was confirmed by the Scottish Government at the weekend, already grant payments were being issued. He emphasised that Dumfries and Galloway Council is the first authority in Scotland to make payments for either Storm Desmond or Storm Frank. This has been particularly challenging given that officers dealing with the claims have also been involved in the emergency response and recovery phases, the latter which is still ongoing.

It was also highlight that the costs to the Council of the clean-up following the flooding are currently around £2million, but are continuing to rise. This excludes the funds we have being paid out to individuals such as the crisis grants we have been paying since early December. Councillors at the meeting were expressed concerned that the £1.7million of grant funding from the Scottish Government would not cover the cost of the recovery.

Following the information that was presented to the committee about the impact of the storms, Councillors were all keen to ensure that the region was well supported by the Scottish Government by funding schemes in smaller, rural locations and ensuring that any scheme funded by the Government met the needs of the community. Working alongside SEPA, the council will be asking the Government to take cognisance rurality of our region where currently, a number many smaller settlements are potentially missing out eligibility for flood protection monies.
Councillors requested that a further report is presented to the March meeting of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee setting out the Council’s 6 year delivery plan for flood risk management across the region. This will provide details of the various schemes in the current plan and show how they have been prioritised and what sources of funding are available.

Chair of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee, Colin Smyth, said “Dumfries and Galloway is a rural region. Many of our smaller villages cannot benefit from flood protection schemes based on the Government’s existing current criteria. It was clear from today’s committee was that all Councillors are asking that the Government rethink their criteria so that our smaller, rural communities can also secure protection during flooding events. The impact of the flooding was felt most in many of our smaller towns and villages where people are still not able to return to their homes and businesses remain closed. These communities have been devastated by the floods. Based on the Government’s existing current criteria, these locations couldn’t qualify for a flood protection scheme, and yet they are the places that have been impacted the worst in the flooding. The committee was in full agreement that this wasn’t right. We are asking the Government to rethink its criteria so that locations like this do not continue to suffer from flooding.”

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