South Uist Scheme Must Not Be Delayed
Greens have attacked the Scottish Executive for halving this year’s budget for flood prevention across Scotland (1), and Highlands & Islands MSP Eleanor Scott has stressed that schemes such as South Uist must not be delayed.
The Executive’s Spring Budget revision cuts £17m from the flood prevention programme, down to only £14·8m this year. Ministers claim the cut is partly due to problems with obtaining planning permission for schemes – and Greens fear that essential projects across Scotland will now be subject to delays and funding problems.
The figures were revealed yesterday at a meeting of the Parliament’s Finance Committee during which Green MSP Mark Ballard pressed the deputy minister George Lyon to ensure this money is not taken away from flooding programmes altogether and lost to other areas of spending.
Dr Scott said, “It is vital that this money is available in the future to complete essential flood protection schemes. The South Uist community was struck by tragedy back in January 2005 and there must never be a repeat of that – the minister must ensure that this money is not lost for good.
“As well as pushing on with good schemes, there must be a review of inappropriate schemes and a preference for soft engineering measures. (2) We need to also look at the cause of flooding. The Executive’s failure to tackle climate change will result in communities inland and on the coast becoming more and more vulnerable to extreme weather and the damage it causes.”
1. For details of committee proceedings, see here.