In our programme for government, we committed to providing an extra £150 million for flood risk management, in addition to the £420 million 10-year funding that we have provided to local authorities.
We continue to work with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, local authorities and other relevant bodies to deliver the actions that are detailed in the current flood risk management strategies and plans. That includes supporting the estimated £42 million Musselburgh flood protection scheme, which is at design stage. The next round of strategies and plans will detail the actions that have been prioritised in the 2022 to 2028 flood risk management cycle in order to reduce the risk of flooding to communities in Lothian and elsewhere.
The cabinet secretary will be aware that, after torrential rain in early December last year, the River Almond burst its banks at Kirkliston, much to the concern of local residents, who have faced regular flooding threats and the damage that floods have caused over many years. What assessment has been made of the additional measures that will be required to protect residents and businesses in Kirkliston? Will the cabinet secretary assure local people that the Scottish Government will support any necessary measures?
Will she also agree to a site visit with me to see the impact of flooding on the local community in Kirkliston?
I am not certain that I can agree to the site visit proposal in the current circumstances. I will need to take advice, but we will certainly liaise with Miles Briggs on that.
For any proposal, detailed discussions involving local authorities and SEPA need to take place. I am not certain how far that process has gone in relation to Kirkliston. If Kirkliston is not already one of the areas that is listed in the plans, consideration will be given to its inclusion. I undertake to write to Miles Briggs on that specific issue. Given the recent nature of the incident that he talked about, it would be helpful to know the extent to which consideration and discussions are already taking place on the inclusion of Kirkliston in future flood risk management proposals.
A number of areas in my Edinburgh Pentlands constituency—in particular, parts of Longstone, Kingsknowe, Currie and Balerno—are prone to flooding. What discussions has the Government had with SEPA, Scottish Water and the City of Edinburgh Council on delivering the actions that are set out in the flood risk management strategies and plans?
We do, of course, engage extensively with SEPA, Scottish Water and other relevant agencies—including the City of Edinburgh Council—on a wide range of issues to ensure that Scotland is resilient to the challenges of flooding and other climate pressures. National and local working groups provide a forum for discussion on issues including monitoring progress of the flood risk management strategies and plans. The Scottish Government discussed the strategies and plans at the latest Scots flood risk management group meeting in November 2020. The City of Edinburgh Council and SEPA are both members of that group.