Scotland's weather: New plans to brace for emergencies one year on from Storm Arwen

A series of measures have been introduced to protect communities from adverse winter weather one year on from Storm Arwen.

Storm Arwen caused devastation in parts of Scotland, with thousands left without power
Storm Arwen caused devastation in parts of Scotland, with thousands left without power

It follows a review of the response to the storm, published in January 2022, which outlined 15 recommendations for the Scottish Government. Ministers have now announced a series of improvements ahead of winter, including a full readiness exercise to be carried out by emergency responders across Scotland. The project, which includes assessing risks, will be completed by the end of November.

A new online learning and training hub has been launched to help individuals, community groups and the voluntary sector prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. A new process to monitor Scotland's resilience system annually to identify issues quickly will also be put in place.

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Keith Brown, the Justice Secretary, said: "The Scottish Government committed to a full review of Storm Arwen and this report demonstrates clearly the range of work that is under way to ensure that lessons are learned. Our responder community, including our blue light services and our local authorities, will put these recommendations in place and we will support them to ensure our resilience arrangements continue to strengthen and protect communities."

Jim Savege, chairman of the Scottish Resilience Partnership, said: "Responders have worked hard through the year, reviewing risks we need to be prepared for, planning and exercising and making sure we are as prepared as we all can be for any future events and incidents we may have to respond to. More than ever, emergency services have considered wider risks that may be realised, and the growing reality of having to deal with concurrent risks and incidents. Significant additional work has been invested this year into working with voluntary organisations and communities to ensure their resilience and their ability to deal with incidents has been enhanced.

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"Community and business resilience are the bedrock upon which emergency services work and respond."

Claims for Storm Arwen, which brought chaos to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north-east of England last year as winds of over 70mph ravaged the countryside, have topped £80 million for one rural insurer alone.

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