Environment minister pledges response for families caught up in Comrie flooding

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse
Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse
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PAUL Wheelhouse, the Scottish environment minister, today pledged Government support to the scores of families whose homes have been devastated by the severe flooding in the village of Comrie in Highland Perthshire.

• Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse visited a number of families whose houses were badly damaged by flooding in Comrie

• Comrie suffered second flood in four months

This morning he visited a number of families whose homes were damaged on Monday when the River Ruchill, a tributary of the River Earn, burst its banks for the second time in four months.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “It was heartbreaking to hear from people who had only just reached the point where they were about to be able to move back into their properties after the flood in August to find that there has been flood damage this time round.

“Parents are obviously upset for their children who are finding it difficult to cope with the fact that they have been flooded again. Clearly many people are going to be facing difficulties with accommodation over the Christmas period and that is concern I would like to see addressed.”

He continued: “We will do what we can to work with the council to make sure that they get the support needed to respond to this particular flood. But the council are looking to identify what sort of long term technical solution they can put in place to prevent this sort of flood in this particular circumstance happening again in Comrie.

“I think there have been some barriers to them (the council) pursuing the project as quickly as they possibly would have liked to have done. But, whatever has happened in the past, I certainly get the view that the council are serious about preventing it happening again”.

Mr Wheelhouse added: ”At a very practical level we are helping individuals who have been affected by the flood but we will have discussions with the council about what we can do, within our constrained budget, to assist them with the facilitation of the (flood alleviation) project.”

Councillor Ian Miller, the leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “The council and its community planning partners will continue to work closely with the local community in order to try to mitigate the effects of future flooding events. There are limitations to what any body can do in relation to a force of nature.”

It was also revealed today that 16 people had to rescued from their homes in Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway after the River Cree overflowed.

Meanwhile the Scottish Environment Protection Agency still has seven flood alerts in force in Tayside, including the Carse of Lennoch, Crieff, Glen Lyon, Taymouth Castle and Bridge of Earn areas.

Tayside Fire and Rescue Service revealed that almost 200 homes in Corrie had been affected by the deluge, including a number of properties left vacant after August’s flood.

A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said the authority had already taken action on temporary measures in a bid to prevent a repeat of the flooding in the Camp Road and Dalginross areas of the village.

He explained: “Perth and Kinross’s roads maintenance partnership has built a walled diversion on Camp Road, using a tonne of sandbags to divert any future flood water into the north field. Two lorry loads of face rock is being used to finish this work. The council has also arranged for the roads to be swept clear of any loose gravel. Culverts and drainage channels have been cleared by council and Fire and Rescue Service officers.

“Tayside Police, Tayside Fire and Rescue and Perth and Kinross Council officers worked overnight to monitor water levels at Comrie and at Bridge of Earn. Most Comrie residents returned to their homes or found accommodation with friends or relatives, with Perth and Kinross Council supplying emergency accommodation to five people overnight.”

He added: “Residents in Comrie and Bridge of Earn are urged to sign up for flood alerts and flood warnings and to remain prepared.The Scottish Flood Forum is holding a drop in session from 10am to 7pm on Thursday at the White Church hall for residents, where practical help and advice will be offered and council officers will be in attendance to answer questions. “