Campaign to bring flood defences to Airth rolls on

The tide could be turning in a village’s battle to create flood protection after an MSP has taken up the cause.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 4:17 pm

Central Scotland MSP Stephen Kerr met with Robert Smith of Airth Community Council to discuss the ongoing campaign to install sea defences on the Forth by the village of Airth.

Airth has been subject to flooding several times – back in 2013 high tides combined with a storm surge to tear a 65 metre hole in the existing informal flood defences, allowing seawater to flood land north of the village and sweep away critical infrastructure.

While some sea defences have since been repaired and improved by local landowners, other informal defences along this stretch of land have not been.

MSP Stephen Kerr meets with members of Airth Community Council to discuss the village's flood defences

Mr Kerr is now backing the community council’s campaign which seeks to either have new flood defences put in place, or existing ones strengthened.

Falkirk Council reportedly has two plans for new defences in Airth, both of which are economically viable, but has said it will not be putting either scheme forward in 2022-28 for the Forth Estuary Local Flood Risk Management Plan because there are larger schemes it wants to get underway first.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has proposed 42 areas where flood defences are needed, including the Forth Estuary shoreline near Grangemouth.

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Mr Kerr said: “It’s ridiculous the people of Airth and the surrounding villages have had to wait this long, but sadly not a surprise.

"What we need is confirmation funding is available, right now, from the Scottish Government for all towns and villages across Scotland known to be vulnerable to flooding and for which there is a known cost-effective flood defence remedy.

"This is the case for Airth. These are people’s lives and homes – waiting until 2028 for a ‘maybe’ or ‘maybe not’ is simply not good enough. On every level it is sensible and the right thing to do is to get this sorted sooner rather than later.”

Councillor Jim Flynn added: “With Climate Change increasing the risk of flooding in Airth, we need to have confirmation from Falkirk Council the village will be protected. We have been left in limbo for too long and it’s simply not good enough”

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “Both SEPA and Falkirk Council have recognised the flood risk issues at Airth and the council has considered potential options for flood protection.

“However, the funding for provision of such schemes is limited and inevitably must be prioritised at both national and local levels.

"The vehicle for doing this is the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, and the Strategies and Plans that outline identified actions to be taken forward.

“Consultation on the next Flood Risk Management Plans are currently underway, and representations can be made via the SEPA website.”

Back in 2018 householders in Letham Terrace, Letham were trapped in their homes after their road was effectively cut off to traffic due to significant flooding in their street.

One family, who stated at the time they were getting fed up with the regular problem of flood water, had to keep their children off school because they could not get them safely to Airth Primary.

Not only that, but they could not get through to the shops in Airth to get baby milk for their six-month-old.

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