By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson Beatrice Wishart, pictured right, has hit out at the Scottish Government as it was revealed that despite the Scottish Government identifying 42 flood protection schemes for delivery between 2015 and 2021, six of the schemes are currently under construction and a further 25 are still at the development stage.
There is no mention of Dumbarton where flooding is a regular occurrence at the recently completed walkway along the Quay towards Dumbarton Castle and even in the High Street.
Figures revealed through parliamentary questions also show major cost overruns in almost every project with the cost of one project at Grangemouth soaring from £111.5m to £420m. A scheme in Musselburgh has increased from £8.8m to £42.1m while one in Hawick has increased from £37.4m to £78.6m.
It is estimated that 284,000 homes and premises are already at risk of flooding in Scotland, with an additional 110,000 properties at risk by 2080.
Beatrice Wishart said: “From Aberdeenshire to the Borders, communities are facing the devastating prospect of floods, while Storm Arwen showed just how vulnerable Scotland has become to major weather events.
“When it comes to flood defences, prevention is always better than having to repair after the damage is done. Our climate has changed dramatically in the past few years so simply bobbing along is no longer an option in the face of more extreme weather.
“These figures show that the Scottish Government is all at sea when it comes to building up our flood defences. Not only are more than half of their prospective projects unfinished, the costs are also going through the roof.
“The Scottish Government needs to scale up flood protection measures and make sure that local authorities have the resources they need to protect our communities and ensure that these projects are delivered.
“Alongside that we need to see a new Climate Emergency Communities Fund with the clear objective of upgrading Scotland’s homes, businesses and infrastructure to cope with the impact of the climate emergency which are already taking their toll, and the worse that we know is still to come.
Details of the flood schemes can be found here
In October, Scottish Liberal Democrats put forward plans for a new Climate Emergency Communities Fund to prepare and protect people across Scotland already being affected by extreme weather including flooding.
The fund could be worth £75 million extra per year to communities – doubling the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to flooding and coastal erosion.
There was no mention of flooding or announcement of new help for communities affected by the climate emergency in the SNP/Green Coalition’s Programme for Government.