Storm surge damage will cost £677k

Dumfries and Galloway Council are facing a staggering £677,000 estimated repair bill after the tidal surge on January 3 destroyed sea defences in coastal communities and left debris strewn across roads the length and breadth of the area.

As the final bill could top £1 million, local politicians are urging the Scottish government to chip in to help the communities affected get back on their feet. MSP Alex Fergusson will table a question in parliament next week and after last year’s snow crisis, MP Russell Brown has warned the Scottish government not to “forget” Dumfries and Galloway again.

The damage at Drummore’s Kilstay Bay totalled a whopping £600,000, at Port William the figure was £30,000, £12,000 at Dyemill near Ardwell and £6,000 at both Portpatrick and Stairhaven plus £23,000 general clean up costs throughout Wigtownshire.

These figures were revealed by council officers at this week meeting of the Cree Valley Flood Action Group in Newton Stewart.

Reacting to the news, Port William and District Community Council chairman Jock McMaster said resident in the village were looking for help with repair cost to their homes from either the council or the Scottish government. Mr McMaster said: “I have been approached by local people about the damage to private properties. They want to know if they are getting help from the council or if there is a Scottish Government fund to help communities after an event like this.

“We will be having a meeting of the community council on Wednesday night and I expect it will be fairly busy and fairly fraught! Hopefully we will get some answers then.”

Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson added: “It is clear that the overall amount of damage that has been caused by the floods of January 3rd will cost in excess of £1 million to address across the Region. The Government has promised an improved warning system for the future, but there is a strong case to be made for immediate Government assistance to help repair the existing damage. I will be tabling questions to the Scottish Government this coming week to highlight the issue and find out if it is willing to help.”

Galloway MP Russell Brown commented: “The appalling weather caused a significant amount of damage in the region and it is no surprise that the council is facing that high a repair bill. It is totally unrealistic to expect the council to fund this themselves and the Scottish Government need to help with the clean-up bill. When our region faced a similar bill after the snow storms last year, we received no help from the Scottish Government to meet the £1.6 million clean-up costs. I do not want them to have the same attitude this time. If the funds can’t be met from the Bellwin scheme, then the Scottish Government needs to find it from elsewhere. They have done so in the past for other areas, and Dumfries and Galloway shouldn’t be forgotten once again.”