Fiona Hyslop MSP – Letter to Infrastructure Secretary on Flooding at Wester Inch

Keith Brown MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment & Cities
St. Andrew’s House
Regent Road

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

Dear Keith,

I write to you on behalf of my many constituents affected by the devastating floods in the Wester Inch community of Bathgate over the past week to seek your assurances that the Scottish Government will lend their full support in ensuring the immediate safety of residents and assist in the longer term recovery.

You will be aware that during the morning of 24 February a major water pipe ruptured severely flooding Meikle Inch Lane. Following an emergency repair only 4 days later at night on Saturday 27 February the same pipeline ruptured at another point causing the same area to be again flooded. This is the 3rd time in 4 years that residents have had to face this issue.

I visited the site on the morning of Sunday 28 February and I saw first-hand the devastation and heartache this flooding has caused. I spoke with residents and Peter Farrer, Chief Operating Officer, Scottish Water.

It is now essential that there is a permanent repair carried out as a matter of urgency and Scottish Water treats this as an investment priority. Anything that can be done must be done to protect those affected and assist them in rebuilding their lives. Can you reassure me that this will be treated as an investment priority? Is it possible to document this in an amendment to Scottish Water’s quarterly investment plans?

There are immediate concerns of the sustainability of the back-up supply to 20,000+ residents in surrounding areas as an implication of this and my constituents are very concerned about any temporary repair and re-opening of a pipe that has failed with devastating effect twice in a week.

At the community meeting I attended on the afternoon of Sunday 28 February residents raised a number of concerns about the insurability and ability to mortgage/re-mortgage or sell properties in future. They also wanted an immediate emergency hotline and website presence and a warning system about the affected pipe.

I would be grateful for any interventions you can make in assisting my constituents and ensuring Scottish Water take every necessary action in the immediate and medium term.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Hyslop MSP