Flood de­fence de­ci­sion de­lay

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS -

Stephen Tem­lett

The fu­ture of the £25 mil­lion White­sands flood de­fence scheme might not be de­cided un­til 2020.

An up­date on the project is due to be pre­sented to mem­bers of the econ­omy, en­vi­ron­ment and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee on Tues­day.

The re­port will dis­cuss the “dif­fi­culty at this stage to pro­vide de­tails of a time­line” of a pub­lic in­quiry for a num­ber of rea­sons.

It could take months for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and Direc­torate of Planning and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ap­peals (DPEA) to al­lo­cate the is­sue to a suit­able re­porter.

A venue is also re­quired for the in­quiry, fol­low­ing which the re­porter will sub­mit find­ings to Scot­tish Min­is­ters for a fi­nal de­ci­sion. But ac­cord­ing to next week’s re­port that could take “up to 24 months”.

The price tag for the probe will not be known un­til de­tails are pre­sented but the coun­cil is ex­pected to meet its own costs for any in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Who­ever is ap­pointed as the re­porter may ar­range a “pre­ex­am­i­na­tion meet­ing” to dis­cuss how the in­quiry will be han­dled, top­ics to be ad­dressed and the tim­ing.

A more de­tailed timescale and cost es­ti­mate for the in­quiry may be known at that point.

How­ever, a pre-ex­am­i­na­tion meet­ing is not manda­tory.

There are three po­ten­tial out­comes for the pub­lic in­quiry. They are to con­firm the scheme with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tions, con­firm with mod­i­fi­ca­tions or to re­ject it.

When plans emerged for the pro­posed flood de­fence project the Save Our Sands cam­paign group was formed to op­pose it.

Thou­sands of peo­ple signed the pe­ti­tion against the flood de­fence scheme cit­ing a loss of views, car park­ing, the cost and the im­pact on Devorgilla Bridge.

In June mem­bers of the coun­cil agreed to con­firm the scheme with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tions and to no­tify Scot­tish Min­is­ters of the de­ci­sion.

Three months later the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment an­nounced min­is­ters had con­firmed it would be called in.

How it would look The pro­posed scheme for the White­sands

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