Highland MSP calls for Caol Flood Prevention Clarity

Peter Peacock, Highlands and Islands Labour Regional MSP has written to the Convener of Highland Council calling for clarity of whether the funding to protect Caol from flooding will form part of the Council's five year capital plan.

Together with his colleagues, Rhoda Grant MSP and David Stewart MSP, Mr Peacock was in Caol recently speaking to residents who had been affected by flooding in 2005.

Mr Peacock commented,

"Some 300 people in Caol have responded to a letter my colleagues and I circulated raising the issue of the past flooding at Caol.

"We visited villagers in their homes and a number of people came to a surgery we held.

"There was real anxiety that the combination of factors which led to the events of 2005 would re-occur with disastrous consequences.

"I have written to the Convener of Highland Council urging the council to give the works that are needed in Caol the highest possible priority.

"The Council need to clarify that they are allocating the cash needed when all the preparations are in place to start the works.

"In addition to expressing their ongoing concerns and seeking action, people would also like to see the council mount a display locally of the flood prevention plans for the area, following the initial work done by the council and its consultants.

"The other issue of concern was any potential impact of the Fort William waterfront development, regarding flooding in Caol.

"Residents indicated that the council had previously said no work would start on any waterfront development until the Caol flood protection works are completed.

"It would be good to know if that is still the case and I have also asked for the council's views on the technical issues of whether the waterfront development will increase the risks.

"The SNP government have ended the 80% funding of flood works and the last council administration signed up to that.

"The government say the council have all the funding they need and, if that is the case there should be no difficulty in the council giving the commitments needed.

"If they can't give that commitment they need to get on and start arguing with the SNP government to restore its grant arrangements to ensure the work can be funded.

"Rhoda Grant, David Stewart and I will keep pushing the case for the necessary funds from whatever source is necessary, Council or Government, or both"



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7 July 2008

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