MP for Angus Kirstene Hair led a Backbench Business debate on coastal erosion today in Westminster Hall calling for funds to tackle the issue to be ringfenced in Scotland.
Ms Hair called for increased co-operation between the UK Government and devolved administrations, including a compensation scheme for people who lost property or land to degrading coastlines. Scottish local authorities do not currently have access to dedicated funding to tackle the issue.
Responding to Ms Hair, the Minister of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon George Eustice MP stated that while this is a devolved matter each part of the UK could learn from each other. England has specifically ringfenced money for coastal erosion and increased it despite pressures in the budget.
Commenting Kirstene Hair MP said:
“It is clear the SNP Government in Edinburgh needs to do more to support my constituents in Montrose. The coastal erosion studies in Angus will conclude next year, and we need sufficient funding ready ‘in waiting’ in order to take action swift action on the preferred solution to save Montrose Links Golf Course and the potential flooding to the town.
“I will continue to put pressure on the Scottish Government to release funding sooner – so the area can determine if they are in fact awarded support. If not, we have another major issue on our hands.
The debate also highlighted the Scottish Government’s failure to ringfence cash for coastal erosion specifically, as they do south of the border.
“It is astonishing that with such beautiful coastlines in Scotland that the SNP Government do not see a need to protect them by having a specific pot of cash.
“I will also work with the UK Government to implement a compensation scheme so constituents living in a coastal community know that there will be help available if they need to relocate and rebuild their lives.”