Edinburgh needs funding to pay for anti-flooding plan with risk to homes on the rise – Hal Osler
The climate is changing, weather patterns have altered and, as well as higher temperatures, we face periods of very heavy, more localised rainfall.
As residents we know we need to change our lifestyles, think about how we heat our homes and travel, but we also need infrastructure to support us with the changes that have already happened.
At council a few weeks ago, residents from across Blackhall, Craigleith, Drylaw, Inverleith and Morningside gave very powerful deputations about the human cost of flooding and the emotional stress of having to deal with it.
The worry and anxiety of watching the weather forecast, the checking of drains and piling up of sandbags, and the hope that this time the systems won’t be overwhelmed or just that the rains don’t come.
Sadly the rains did hit and many residents found themselves flooded again, some of whom literally had just been in their homes for a short few precious weeks after being flooded out the previous year.
Again, they were back fighting to keep human waste from entering their homes and then moving on to battle with Scottish Water and the council, pleading for something to be done so that it did not happen again.
The council has been working with Scottish Water and other agencies and a plan called Vision for Water Management has been produced with the aim of mitigating the future impacts of flooding.
This is not only imperative to help resolve existing issues but with a new city development plan due and a desire to focus on brownfield and more urban sites rather than the greenbelt, inevitably there will be even more pressure on the present system.
The problem is due to chronic and systematic underfunding – the council does not have the required budget to carry the water management plan forward. The Lib Dem group on the council sought and secured agreement that it would write to the Scottish government to seek the necessary funding so that it could be progressed.
If the Scottish government really is serious about tackling climate change, I look forward to them providing the funding because the Sepa National Flood Risk Assessment 2018 estimates that in Edinburgh, there are currently over 28,000 homes and businesses at risk of flooding and over time this number is likely to rise.