MSP calls for better flood protection for rural areas

More must be done to protect rural areas such as Angus from extreme weather events, MSPs have been told.
Flooding at the Inchbare electrical substation during the recent heavy rainfall.Flooding at the Inchbare electrical substation during the recent heavy rainfall.
Flooding at the Inchbare electrical substation during the recent heavy rainfall.

At First Minister’s Questions, North East MSP Tess White told how recent floods overwhelmed electrical infrastructure near Brechin, which itself saw the failure of part of the town’s £16 million defence system.

Scottish Conservative Ms White said: “In Brechin, two of the pumps belonging to the town’s £16m flood defences failed, flooding homes and causing extensive damage.

“Villagers raised concerns with me about the safety of an electrical substation in Inchbare, which was half-submerged in water for days.

“Communities rallied together over the weekend, but improvements do need to be made to the organisation of the emergency response to weather events like this.

“How will the Scottish Government work with local resilience partnerships to expedite this process and reassure people in my region that every possible step has been taken to protect them?”

The First Minister said those in charge of the national flood reaction will “reflect on the response and ensure that any lessons identified are taken on board.”

After referencing Brechin, she added: "Any time there is a severe weather incident like this, we ensure that any appropriate lessons are learned."

Ms White said later: “Although the riverside defences held well, this should not minimise the stress caused to the residents of Brechin, who once again had the sandbags out to keep flood water at bay. I also talked to people in the Inveresk area, shared their concerns with me about winter preparedness.

“It’s vital that the Scottish Government works more closely with local councils to test resilience, test the equipment, and share resources while these extreme weather events are still on the horizon.”

Angus Council said that an engineer attended to the pumps stations as soon as the problem was known and both pumps were started successfully at around 5pm on November 18. The local authority also pointed out that the main flood defence, which contains the River South Esk, held despite water levels levels being the highest on record.