Flood-hit residents fear the worst as downpours return

The Colonies in Stockbridge where sandbags were delivered to prevent any further flood damage
The Colonies in Stockbridge where sandbags were delivered to prevent any further flood damage
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RESIDENTS left devastated by the weekend’s flooding fear their homes could be hit again after fresh weather warnings were issued.

The Capital is under amber alert today, with heavy rain falling again this morning and the Met Office saying persistent and heavy rain could cause flooding, while council workmen were racing against time to strengthen defences.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the Scottish Government would work with the Met Office, emergency services, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Transport Scotland and local authorities to monitor the situation and keep the public informed.

But residents in the Stockbridge Colonies, which were partly submerged on Saturday, voiced doubts that flood defences would hold, with some claiming protection measures announced by the council had not arrived.

They also called on Lagan Construction, which is working on a flood defence scheme costing £11.5 million, to be far speedier in responding if rain causes more problems 

One 68-year-old Colonies resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I’ve certainly had no sandbags and there’s been no-one at the door giving advice. It makes me feel very angry but not surprised after everything else that’s gone wrong.

“It’s all very frightening. There’s not a great deal I can do at this stage, just be prepared to get things out of the way that I don’t want damaged if water does get in.”

Alison Differ, 29, who is living in temporary accommodation after her home in Glenogle Terrace was wrecked by knee-high flood waters on Saturday, said: “One of the major problems was the temporary wall in Kemp Place, which was breached. I think there will be concern around here that it will not stand another flood, but I’m not sure if they’ve worked on the wall to make it stronger.

“At the weekend, there was nobody around to help because it happened so early in the morning and when people arrived it was too late. People are hoping that Lagan will be out earlier this time.”

City council leader Andrew Burns said: “In Stockbridge, we are working with the contractor to make the temporary flood defences at the Water of Leith more robust. Sandbags have been given to residents in this area whose homes may be at risk of flooding.

“Across the city, we are also shoring up defences and will be deploying sandbags as a precaution. Council teams are on standby over the next few days to respond to any incident of flooding.”

Transport Minister Mr Brown said: “Unfortunately, some of those communities who were caught up in the heavy rain in Edinburgh and the Lothians at the weekend are now being warned to expect more testing conditions over the next 24 to 36 hours.

“This is clearly a very frustrating time for everyone affected, especially at a time of year when they are entitled to expect some respite. However, I wish to express my thanks for those involved in the response and to the wider public for their continuing patience.”

A Met Office spokesman said: “Up to 50mm could fall in some places and there is a chance of localised flooding, but the worst of the rain should start to clear from around midday onwards.”

Demand for flights abroad takes off as families flee wet weather misery

CITY residents have joined a stampede for the sun, as forecasters issue flood warnings across the Capital.

Emergency services are on standby as the Met Office predict even more heavy rain over today and tonight.

As a result, more and more families are heading for the airport in an effort to flee the misery. Travel firms are reporting a sharp rise in holiday inquiries following the wettest June on record and torrential rain at the start of this month.

Bill Munro, boss of Barrhead Travel said: “People are literally walking up to our staff and saying, ‘Get me out of here’. Many of them don’t seem to care too much where they are going, as long as it is warm, sunny and dry.”

This summer is on course to be one of the biggest washouts in history. Since the start of June, 230mm of rain has been recorded at the Royal Botanic Garden’s Met Office weather station, with the usual average total for the summer months reading between 150mm and 200mm.

The month also produced just 119 hours of sunshine, 25 per cent less than usual.

Caroline Sharkey, duty flood advisor with Sepa, said: “We have flood alerts in force for Edinburgh and the Lothians. The greater risk on Wednesday is in eastern Lothian and the city, as rivers are expected to rise in response to the heavy rain predicted across the south east of Scotland.”

Such is the demand to flee the rain, travel firms were last night making contingency plans to keep services running during this period of sodden weather.

Tour operator Thomson has reported a 20 per cent increase in holiday searches compared to the same period last year.

The wet weather is also expected to prove a boon for airport bosses as Edinburgh Airport witnessed a fall in passenger traffic last month, dragged down by a drop in domestic traveller numbers.

A total of 883,000 passengers travelled through the airport in June, a drop of 3.9 per cent on the previous year.