Emergency meeting as winds batter region

AN emergency meeting chaired by Scottish Borders Council’s acting chief executive, Glenn Rodger took place on Monday as Scotland and the north of England were blasted by heavy winds.

Representatives from SBC’s management team, Emergency Planning Service, Lothian and Borders Police and Fire Service and the council’s environment and infrastructure department were in attendance to discuss action being taken during the period of gale force winds that arrived as the tail end of Hurricane Katia made its way across the Atlantic.

The Met Office issued an amber weather warning for Monday night and Tuesday daytime with winds due to strengthen before slowly dropping off on Tuesday evening.

The situation was closely monitored overnight on Monday with all key agencies, including Lothian and Borders Police and Fire and Rescue Service, as well as SBC, fully staffed in order to react to any incidents that might have occurred as a result of the high winds.

The winter control room, which is not normally staffed at this time of year, was also fully staffed and the council, the police and fire Ssrvice continued to work closely throughout the night.

Speaking shortly after Monday’s briefing, Glenn Rodger advised members of the public to be extra vigilant as the winds gathered force, with gusts between 60 and 70mph. Winds were even expected to reach up to 80mph across coasts, hills and bridges.

He added: “Winds of this strength have the potential to cause structural damage to buildings and trees. We are therefore advising all members of the public to, where possible, avoid being outside in the vicinity of mature trees and also any buildings that look as if they could be vulnerable to damage from high winds.

“We would also like to ask the agricultural community to be aware of the potential damage these winds may cause.”

Temporary Chief Inspector of Lothian and Borders Police, Kenny Simpson also alerted people to an increased risk of disruption on major bridges in central and southern Scotland due to restrictions and closures for safety reasons.

Drivers were also urged to pay attention to illuminated signs on motorways and listen to radio reports for traffic and weather updates.

If you come across any debris on the road or dangerous buildings, contact 0131 311 3131.

More advice is available from www.scotborders.gov.uk.