Badenoch and Strathspey Flooding Highlighted
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The growing incidence of flooding in Badenoch and Strathspey was highlighted this week by Peter Peacock MSP on a visit to the SEPA Flood Van in Grantown.
The van was in Badenoch and Starthspey all week giving information to local people about the threat of flooding, the SEPA flood line and the measures people can take to protect their homes and belongings.
Peter Peacockís Grantown call came in the week when he highlighted the need for a new flooding formula to ensure flood protection and management works can be financed by local councils and following a briefing he had with Highland Council flooding officials about the issues facing the region.
Peter Peacock said,
"Flooding incidents are increasing and Parliament is undertaking a major inquiry into how Scotland is coping and what more needs to be done to equip our communities and country from the likelihood of more intense flooding as climate changes take effect.
"The fact that SEPA were touring the area is because the potential of flooding in this area is recognised nationally and more effort is going into informing and helping people who are vulnerable to flooding to better prepare.
"I would encourage anyone in Badenoch and Strathspey who has experienced flooding to share with me their experience, so I can use that as part of the inquiry.
"I have already had photographic evidence sent to me of flooding around Newtonmore.
The Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP is gathering evidence on the effects of flooding and the measures local people think can be put in place to prevent it happening to them again.
And Mr Peacock is calling for action now on a new funding formula to ensure investment is made available to protect communities in the north from the effects of flooding, following changes in the minority SNP governmentís funding policies for local government.
His call comes following a briefing from Officials at Highland Council who are working on schemes to alleviate flooding across the region and a week after the anniversary of the major floods that hit Dingwall and many other parts of the Highlands.
Peter Peacock said: "I have been contacted by many people from across the Highlands with their experience of flooding.
"The disruption, misery and anguish caused by flooding takes a huge toll on those affected, and we are seeing more and more flooding as climate changes take effect.
"The briefing I have had from Highland Council illustrates the scale of the problem with many schemes requiring work and new planning being required as we anticipate more flooding events in future.
"Such is the scale of the problem that the Scottish Parliament, quite independent of government, is undertaking a major inquiry into flooding, changing weather patterns and whether our law and administrative practices are fit to manage the increased flooding we all anticipate over future years.
"The inquiry will report next year sometime, and the evidence Highland Council can give will be invaluable, but there are urgent changes in policy needed now to help Councils make key investments.
"The Highland Council faces a huge bill to make the necessary investments to help prevent flooding affecting peoplesí homes over coming years.
"Sadly, their ability to do so has been all but removed from them by one consequence of the minority SNP governmentís policy on freezing council tax.
"Councils have traditionally had to make a 20% contribution to the costs of significant flood protection schemes, as well as now having to increase spending on maintenance of gulleys and culverts, for example, to keep drainage systems clear.
"With Councilís being told to freeze their Council tax it becomes almost impossible for them to find the necessary cash to do their bit.
"In the circumstances the minority nationalist government really have an obligation to meet the bills 100% and that is what I am calling on them to do.
"Thankfully the recent spending review has given the minority nationalist government twice as much money as Donald Dewar had at his disposal only some 8 years ago.
"Within a £30 billion budget flooding needs to get a higher priority and Councils need the extra support to overtake the vital work they need done."
Peter Peacock will be writing to the minority nationalist government seeking
a change in policy.
Peter Peacock is a member of the Parliamentary Committee undertaking the flooding inquiry and has asked anyone having experienced the effects of flooding to get in touch with him with their experience to assist website link >>>
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