Burnmouth rejects council’s winter weather

Clouds gather as stormy weather approaches Burnmouth Harbour, Berwickshire.
Clouds gather as stormy weather approaches Burnmouth Harbour, Berwickshire.
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Burnmouth may turn its back on the council’s much heralded community resilience plans because of “excess bureaucracy and a general lack of enthusiasm”.

As winter takes a hold and communities look at how well prepared they are to deal with emergencies such as being snowed in, Burnmouth Community Council report that their resilience co-ordinator is standing down “due to the excess bureaucracy and lack of enthusiasm/contempt from the general populace of the village for the resilience plan”.

The community council reports: “It was considered sufficient that emergency services knew who to contact should the worst happen. Villagers should be encouraged to be more self-reliant.”

East Berwickshire councillor Joan Campbell said this was “not the first time” she had heard such sentiments expressed, adding that the plans needed more tweaking for the smaller communities.

Before Scottish Borders Council created a blueprint for community resilient plans, Burnmouth had already done its own thing.

After a bad winter in 2010 the community council drew up its own plan in 2011, chairman Joan Wilson saying at the time: “Burnmouth Community Council members believe that there are people who would be willing to help if they were aware where the needs are.

“If a scheme could be organised (by telephone contacts) it would be sure to bring some peace of mind to those who are cut off by snow or ice.”

They have operated their own scheme since then and unless a new co-ordinator is found and more enthusiasm drummed up from villagers, then it looks like Burnmouth will be going its own way when it comes to an emergency plan.

Scottish Borders Council’s resilient communities plan involves drawing up a list of local community councils and individuals who are prepared and able to respond effectively can deal with local issues such as: clearing snow from pathways of people who are unable to do it themselves; placing sandbags in risk areas to prevent flooding; placing domestic flood gates into position; delivering supplies during severe weather to those most in need; providing hot meals within community centres/village halls.

An SBC spokesperson said: “Scottish Borders Council will continue to offer support to Burnmouth Community Council with regard to its capacity to deal with an emergency.

“We have received excellent feedback for the initiative and have an ongoing training programme for all of the resilient community co-ordinators, including two winter awareness training evenings last month.

“We also recently held a resilience exercise with the Hutton and Paxton resilient community team, Police Scotland and Borders Search and Rescue Unit. A video of this exercise is now featured on the Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter website and its YouTube channel.”

Since Scottish Borders Council introduced their commmunity emergency plans 22 communities across the region now have resilience plans up and running, a further 31 towns and villages have signed up, eleven have expressed interest and three have declined.