Coast erosion nightmare looming for Galloway

A council officer admitted this week that the local authority may have to abandon protecting some communities if coastal erosion continues at the current rate.

Speaking to members of the Wigtown Area Committee at their monthly meeting on Wednesday morning, Service and Infrastructure Manager James McLeod dropped the bombshell when replying to a question from Wigtown West Councillor Jim McClung about the condition of the A716 road to Drummore.

The councillor said drivers had to “time going down” to the village depending on the tide.

Mr McLeod said: “The council may have to look at building a new road to Drummore rather then maintain the current road. Taking that to its conclusion at what point do coastal communities become unsustainable? Coastal flooding may just be a one in 20 year event and homeowners weight that against the advantage of living beside the sea, but if this increases do the council step in to protect the properties or not?”

Elected members were being given an update on council plans to mange flood risk in Wigtownshire, but were unimpressed with the information.

Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm said the map of the ‘potentially vulnerable areas’ (PVA’s) at risk of flooding was incomplete with the Moss of Cree, the Flowe and Port William missed out while Carinsmore, which no one could remember ever being flooded, was included.

Councillor Alastair Geddes told the officers: “The process is fundamentally flawed and we have PVA’s that are not worth the paper they are written on. Get back to us with them redrawn so we can spell out to the good folks of Newton Stewart when they can have the next stage of the work to protect the town from the very real risk of flooding.”

Newton Stewart and Minnigaff suffered severe flooding in November 2012 and December 2013 while coastal communities like Port William, Isle of Whithorn, Garlieston, Drummore and Ardwell were overwhelmed in the tidal surge last January.