Cole-Hamilton proposes new Climate Emergency Communities Fund

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today proposed a new Climate Emergency Communities Fund to prepare and protect people across Scotland already being affected by extreme weather including flooding.

It is the next instalment of the new Scottish Liberal Democrat leader’s plan New Hope for the Climate Emergency, and comes as a report from the UK Environment Agency warns that adapting to the “inevitable impacts” of the climate emergency is necessary to save lives.  

The fund could be worth £75 million extra per year to communities – doubling the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to flooding and coastal erosion.

In January, research by the party revealed that just 7 of the 42 flood protection schemes identified by SEPA for delivery between 2016 and 2021 had been finished. Despite that, there was no mention of flooding or announcement of new help for communities affected by the climate emergency in the SNP/Green Coalition’s Programme for Government last month.

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented: 

“I’ve set out radical plans designed to prevent catastrophic climate change and move Scotland over to net zero as soon as possible. However, there is no hiding that there are communities across the country already being battered by its effects.

“Flooding events which I was told were a once in a thousand-year events when I was first elected now happen every year. Scotland is underpinned by Victorian sewers that were never designed to cope with the extreme weather we get today.

“There are countless communities across Scotland that look up at the sky with dread in the knowledge of what heavy rain might bring.

“When you look at what’s already happening from Australia to Greenland, Scotland is getting off comparatively lightly. But it doesn’t feel like that when your home or fields get flooded. 

“It is why I’m proposing a new Climate Emergency Communities Fund with the clear objective of upgrading Scotland’s homes, businesses and infrastructure to cope with the impact of the climate emergency which are already taking their toll, and the worse that we know is still to come.

“Communities should be in charge of this. Funding to boost preparedness should be able to cover whatever will work locally and include extra investment in nature-based solutions, from planting trees to installing living roofs that can soak up the rain.” 

It is estimated that 284,000 homes and premises are already at risk of flooding in Scotland, with an additional 110,000 properties at risk by the 2080. 

The Environment Agency report can be found here.

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