The Courier

MSP’s fears Angus will lose out on vital coastal erosion funding

Previous coastal erosion at Montrose beach.

The Scottish Government has moved to allay fears Angus could lose out on funding to help tackle coastal erosion.

It was responding to concerns raised by Conservative MSP Liam Kerr that national funding, to be awarded for the period 2022 to 2028, will “disappear down the drain” before it gets to Montrose and Arbroath, where coastal defences have already been breached.

SEPA’s last local flood risk management strategy noted both Angus towns were “potentially vulnerable” to flooding.

Mr Kerr wrote to environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham following the collapse of a sea wall in Montrose in June, urging her to make the Angus coast a priority in its six-year flood strategy.

Liam Kerr, MSP, during a site visit at Montrose beach.

She wrote back: “As you know Angus Council has commissioned a flood study for Montrose which will consider the risks from both coastal erosion and flooding to the town.

“It is important the council wait for the recommendations from that study, which I understand will be available in the autumn, before deciding on actions to take.

“While Angus Council can apply for future funding from the £42m we make available each year for flood risk management, including flood alleviation schemes, these works are prioritised nationally.”

Mr Kerr said he was worried the county would be overlooked because the local authority has been proactive in commissioning its own flood study.

“Angus is already having to cut £40 million worth of its cloth between last year and 2021,” he said.

“If there’s no help from the flood fund, a proper alleviation scheme may never happen.

“I am very worried the earmarked money will disappear down the drain without a penny coming near Traill Drive or Arbroath harbour.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are providing local authorities with £42 million each year through the Local Government Capital Grant to help them invest in flood protection measures.

“We are aware Angus Council has commissioned a flood study for Montrose which will consider the role of erosion and flood risk to the area.

“Funding for any coastal flood scheme brought forward by the council for Montrose can be considered as part of the second generation of Local Flood Risk Management Plans 2022-28.”