Local MSP Liz Smith is calling on a clear, annual inspection programme for flood prone bodies of water.

Local MSP Liz Smith is calling on a clear, annual inspection programme for flood prone bodies of water.

Under current legislation local authorities across the country are required to assess watercourses in the area “from time to time” revealed environment minister Aileen McLeod in his written correspondence with the MSP, who is campaigning for clearer regulations and more frequent publication of the findings.

Liz Smith said: “It is just over two years since Comrie suffered two incidents of flooding which resulted in 150 homes being flooded and more than 200 householders having to be evacuated.” According to figures provided by the MSP the average annual damages to homes, businesses and agriculture from all sources of flooding is estimated to be between £720-850m in Scotland.

She said that the greatest cost is the impact on affected families, adding that: “It is clear that local councils have not learnt all the lessons from the aftermath of local flooding incidents and I have called on the Scottish Government to make clear how often flood prone bodies of water are being inspected.

“Across Strathearn and Perthshire and Kinross-shire there are a number of rivers and burns which have not been dredged in recent years including the Water of Ruchill at Comrie and the Barvick Burn in Creiff.” Perth & Kinross Council have been continuing to produce biennial, once every two years, flood inspection reports which are published through the Environment Committee process with documents available on the council’s website – wrote Aileen McLeod.

However, according to the letter by the environment minister new guidance is being prepared already.

She wrote: “The [new] FRM Act [Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009] will require the publication of the first local flood risk management plans (LFRMPs) later this year, which will include information derived from the watercourse assessment that local authorities have carried out.

“The LFRMPs will be fully revised on a six yearly cycle, with interim reports and revisions published every two or three years.” Reacting, Liz Smith concluded: “I welcome the fact that the environment minister has said that new guidance on the issue of clearance and repair works is currently being prepared, but we need to see real action and a clear inspection programme to protect communities and homes and businesses.”