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Floods, Tay Valley

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 4 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications he has received for grants following the floods in the Tay valley; and how many have been for funds to restore the environmental damage caused by the floods.

Thirty-two applications have been received from farmers in Tayside for the repair of elevated floodbanks at the enhanced rates of grant announced on 28 February 1990. A further five applications have been received for arterial drainage and ditching operations at ordinary rates.

With regard to environmental damage, three farmers within the Breadalbane environmentally sensitive area have notified damage to grant-aided trees and fences.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that the worst break in the Tay was at Braecock farm and that a temporary repair was carried out there? Downstream, farmers and the village of Capath will be at risk unless the colossal damage that was done at Braecock is properly, fully and adequately repaired. What proposals does my hon. Friend have and what hope can he give people downstream of Braecock that the work will be carried out properly?

I am glad to reassure my hon. Friend that the three downstream owners who are to carry out repairs to flood banks will also qualify for enhanced grants. The Scottish Office is ready to pay 60 per cent. of grant, and approval of the repair proposals will be given immediately when the owners are ready to accept the contractor's tender.

Is the Minister aware that Labour-controlled Tayside regional council convened a meeting last month with representatives of local authorities and farming, environmental and other bodies? That meeting called on the Scottish Office to pay £25,000 for a feasibility study to solve the flood damage problem. Will the Minister take this opportunity to say that he will respond positively to that call and pay the £25,000?

The hon. Gentleman is correct that a meeting took place on 21 June. A steering group was formed to appoint an independent consultant and oversee the hydrology study. We have offered to fund it up to a quarter, to a maximum of £10,000, which we consider generous, taking all the circumstances into account.