We are making available a new £12 million capital budget for the four years from 2022 to 2023 for coastal change adaptation and resilience. I recently launched the Dynamic Coast 2 project in Montrose, which helps to identify where the greatest risks from coastal erosion and sea level rises are in this decade and into the future as we face the global climate challenge.
We are producing guidance to help local authorities respond to those risks and prepare coastal change adaptation plans at the local level.
In 2016, a major flood study said that there was a clear and present danger to Montrose roads and properties and to the railway between Aberdeen and Dundee. That study was endorsed by the cabinet secretary’s predecessor, Roseanna Cunningham.
At the cabinet secretary’s photo opp in Montrose last week, one of his local councillors stated that action needs to be taken in the next five years. What has changed since 2016 to push action back to 2026? Will the cabinet secretary confirm that the people of the Angus coast will be an urgent priority for the next round of flood risk management funding in the next 12 months?
I am well aware of the concerns in Montrose, because the local constituency member, Mairi Gougeon, has raised with me the direct impacts that the issues have on her constituents, which they also have on the member’s constituents.
That is why we commissioned the Dynamic Coast 2 project, to identify the nature and scale of the challenges that we face with coastal erosion in different parts of the country, including in Montrose. The funding that we are making available is to support a project to look at the direct action that we can take in areas where measures need to be implemented to reduce the risk of coastal erosion and the impact that that will have on flooding in areas such as Montrose.
I assure the member that we will continue to work with local authorities to make sure that the funding is used in such a way that it maximises its impacts and helps to reduce the risk of flooding in local areas.