£8m for flood defences

The first element of the construction programme is the replacement of the Sparling Bridge across the River Cree, linking Newton Stewart and Minnigaff.
The first element of the construction programme is the replacement of the Sparling Bridge across the River Cree, linking Newton Stewart and Minnigaff.

Dumfries and Galloway Council will spend almost £8 million over the next four years to build a flood protection scheme in Newton Stewart.

The sum will come from the capital investment strategy, with the Scottish Government funding 80 per cent of the total (£6.28 million).

This funding package was agreed at the council’s recent budget meeting in Dumfries and the first element of this titanic construction programme is the replacement of the Sparling Bridge across the River Cree, linking Newton Stewart and Minnigaff.

Cree Valley Community Council members heard the good news for Mid Galloway elected member Jim McColm at their monthly meeting on Monday night in The McMillan Hall.

Councillor McColm read out the breakdown of the funding, announcing that £600,000 would be made available for the 2017/2018 financial year; £1.5 million in 2018/2019; £4.25 million in 2019/2020 and £1.5 million in 2020/2021.

A council spokesman added: “The council have identified £600K (for 2017/2018) in recently agreed Budget, but this is a total estimated spend, of which Scottish Government will fund 80 per cent or £480K, making council investment of £120K.”

£23 million will be spent on Dumfries Whitesands Flood Protection Scheme; £2 million on flood defences at Langholm and £400,000 in Stranraer between 2017 and 2021.

At the CVCC meeting, representatives from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency gave members a presentation on their work to record both river levels and rainfall to provide an accurate early warning system for residents in flood prone areas in future.

Data from three river level gauges, at the Wheet Bridge, the Minnoch Bridge and at the Riverside Car Park and four rainfall gauges can assist SEPA in triggering flood warnings. But the environment experts noted that the atmospheric conditions attached to Storm Frank in December 2015, combined with already saturated ground, made that event “ so devastating.”

Visual graphics for the Sparling Bridge are on page 13.