Hawick was again held hostage to raging floodwaters on Wednesday – prompting calls for a rethink on the flood-defence schedule and river maintenance.
And according to flood group chairman, Councillor Stuart Marshall, this latest sickening incident strengthens the case for the Hawick flood-defence scheme to be delivered as soon as possible.
Speaking after the river levels dropped, Mr Marshall said: “I was asked to assist the police in evacuating residents in Mansfield Road and while doing so I was asked on behalf of these residents, some who have lived on this stretch of the river all their lives, to take up their concerns over the lack of river maintenance.”
And he added: “If our town has to wait until 2022 to have an effective flood scheme in place, then SEPA should be putting in place an urgent action plan for how they intend to dredge both the Teviot and Slitrig.
“Our river bankings are a perfect disgrace and are overgrown with trees, bushes and other vegetation, and because of this I have no doubt that it is contributing to our flooding problems.
“2022 seems a long way off and with the third evacuation in a month, townsfolk have had enough and desperately want to see some action by way of dredging and general maintenance taking place by our environmental agency.
“Councillor McAteer and myself are seeking an urgent meeting with SEPA to take these concerns forward.”
Significant rainfall during the early hours of Wednesday morning resulted in rapidly-rising river levels, particularly in Hawick and Jedburgh.
An emergency rest centre in the leisure centre was established, with an estimated 300 households advised to evacuate in Hawick and around a dozen homes in Bonchester Bridge also affected by flooding.
Councillor Marshall added: “This week’s flooding event has for many folk in the town been the final straw and whilst some are resigning themselves to the fact that they will have to wait until 2022 before a flood scheme is operational, many, however, are telling me enough is enough and are wanting to see some temporary flood protection being considered as waiting six years to be fully protected is a long time away.
“I have raised this issue with SBC to see if we can tap into any funding streams to try and have temporary defences deployed in hot-spot areas.
“Many of those affected have now been evacuated three times in six weeks and I can sense from some of these poor people that all this stress is also having a major impact on their health too.”