SBC one of ten councils in new climate risk group

Flooding at Ellemford Show ground
Flooding at Ellemford Show ground

In light of the problems caused by heavy rainfall last summer, SBC has joined with nine other local authories to form an extreme weather action group.

Persistant downpours brought wide spread flooding to many areas in the Borders last year, including Berwickshire where in complete contrast to this year, Duns Public Park was like a swimming pool in time for Reiver’s Week and up in the hills Ellemford Show ground was also under water.

The idea for the action group came from Scottish Borders Counci’s emergency planning officer, Jim Fraser, who, having seen the impact flooding can have, thought it wise that communities throughout Scotland were more prepared to deal with it.

He commented: ”Within our own local authority area we activated our emergency arrangements on a number of occasions to deal with last year’s flooding.

“The flooding in Jedburgh last August was declared a ‘Major Incident’ by the police, meaning lives could have been lost.

This was a result of the exceptional level of rain that fell within a very short period of time.”

“It can be a hard sell to justify spending money to prepare for climate risks in the future. But, as several Scottish local authorities know, the cost of repairing the damage can be much higher.

“I wanted to set up a project group with other Scottish local authorities to allow us to support and assist each other to tackle this challenge.”

Flooding is estimated to cost the Scottish economy £700 million a year and the newly formed climate risk and adaptation support group will explore how local authorities can assess their climate risks, cope with uncertainties and balance these risks with competing pressures in a tight local economy.

The first group meeting was held on July 11 and was facilitated by Adaptation Scotland, the Scottish Government-funded programme managed by Sniffer.

The group’s discussions will inform Adaptation Scotland’s updated Public Sector Adaptation Workbook, a resource which helps public sector organisations plan for climate risks and the appropriate measures to take.