South of Scotland MSP Dr Aileen McLeod has raised the issue of a dedicated early flood warning system for the River Cree following last week’s floods.
Dr McLeod specifically singled out the River Cree and the current lack of an early warning system – which currently exists for the Nith – and asked Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse to investigate the possibility that a similar system be put in place so that residents and business owners in Newton Stewart and Minnigaff can receive advance warning of future flooding events.
Mr Wheelhouse undertook to ask SEPA – which controls the early warning flood systems – to investigate options for the Cree. The minister also highlighted SEPA’s plans for a new coastal flood warning scheme for the Solway Firth which should be in place next year.
Commenting, Dr McLeod said: “Dumfries & Galloway has really been hit hard by the floods over the last week both inland and on the coast. I want to thank all of the emergency services and Council workers who responded during the bad weather. Without their efforts things would undoubtedly have been a lot worse.
“I know that the early flood warning system which is in place on the Nith has helped people to cope with flooding when it does happen. The system can give three or four hours warning that flooding is likely to happen, which at least allows people to prepare.
“Newton Stewart and Minnigaff are ranked high on the council’s flood risk management plan in terms of the risk to people and property so I asked the Environment Minister if he can arrange for SEPA to investigate the possibility of an early flood warning system for the River Cree and any other area of the region which is at similar risk.
“I received a very positive response from the minister who has agreed that this will be investigated in addition to measures for coastal flood warnings for the region’s coastline. I am pleased with this response and look forward to seeing progress with this work during the course of the year.
“It is probably safe to say that we will see more flooding incidents like last week’s in the future, so the better prepared the region is and the more warning that people have, the better prepared they will be to respond when it does happen.”