Euan McGrory: Storm Ali offers the chance to take stock

The clear-up after Storm Ali should give us all pause for thought.

Friday, 21st September 2018, 7:29 am
A fallen tree in Cramond in the wake of Storm Ali
A fallen tree in Cramond in the wake of Storm Ali

Some will be counting the cost of the gale which blew at up to 90mph. Thankfully, for the vast majority, we are talking about damage to property. You only need to look at the pictures of trees strewn across roads and slabs of loose masonry to realise how lucky we are not to be talking about a tragedy today.

The closure of part of Princes Street on Wednesday after lead was blown from a building is just the lastest incident of its kind in Edinburgh.

The problem, however, as stonemason Stewart Inkster explains in our special report today, is that the damage left by the storm won’t all be visible from the street. A chunk of masonry can easily work loose but the weakness be missed until it is too late. The consequences, as we know, can be fatal.

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The answer of course is regular building inspections. Owners of old buildings in particular need to take their responsibilities seriously.

But what happens when they don’t? In this context, the suggestion being discussed within the city council of drastically cutting back its emergency repairs service to save £329,000 a year is simply staggering. It is one idea that should never see the light of day.