MSP praises local communities and emergency services

Galloway’s Labour group have praised communities and emergency services across the region after the devastation caused by Storm Frank.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray and Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Colin Smyth have praised local communities in the region along with members of the Major Emergency Team, which includes officers from Dumfries and Galloway Council, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and HM Coastguard for their continued efforts in providing assistance to areas hit by Storm Frank.

Elaine Murray said: “Once again severe weather has hit our region but once again we have had a prompt response of action from members of the Major Emergency Team in Dumfries & Galloway. I know many local residents were reassured by their presence, and I can only commend them for their efforts.

“The flooding has been severe and sadly many local business properties and homes have been left devastated as a result. It has impacted on communities across our region including Moffat, which was literally cut off during the course of the day, to Dumfries where sadly we had the all too common sight of the Nith bursting its banks.

“Some better news is that fortunately Langholm hasn’t seen the same high water levels as other parts of the region, which will be a relief for the many local residents who were affected by the floods just a few weeks ago.”

Councillor Colin Smyth, who Chair’s the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee added: “Communities across our region from Dumfries to Dalbeattie and Newton Stewart have been badly hit as result of Storm Frank. However, members of the Major Emergency Team did a fantastic job, from handing out sand bags and flood barriers from a number of flood pods and trailers we had in the main towns affected, to putting in place road closures to keep people safe and ensuring that our most vulnerable residents were looked after and received the care they needed, including evacuating hundreds of people from their homes and ensuring there were rest centres available for them. This was a massive operation in appalling conditions that really did stretch all agencies.

“We also have nearly 60 community resilience plans in place in many towns and villages across the region and because of this we were able to communicate with local communities so they could prepare as best they could. There is no doubt that local communities rose to the challenge they faced - helping neighbours and looking after each other which shows the strong community spirit we have here in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Hopefully we have now seen the worst of the flooding, and can begin repairing the damage caused as we move into the recovery stage. In the long term we need to see some serious asks being made of the Scottish Government in terms of funding proper flood protection schemes across the region to rethinking their planned reduction in council budgets which would have meant far fewer people on the ground supporting communities.”