Demand to speed up flood plan

Jim Renwick walks through his flooded cellar in Hawick, Scotland, after the River Teviot burst its banks after Storm Desmond tore through Britain, bringing strong winds and heavy rain. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 6, 2015. A severe weather warning is still in place for much of Scotland as a clean up operation from Storm Desmond swung into action. Homes and roads remain flooded as the weather warning was downgraded from a rare red warning in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday. Nearly 200mm of rain fell in Britain's wettest area Shap, in Cumbria. The bad weather has abated in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, after around 100 properties were evacuated but emergency services remain on standby. See PA story WEATHER  Winter Scotland. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Jim Renwick walks through his flooded cellar in Hawick, Scotland, after the River Teviot burst its banks after Storm Desmond tore through Britain, bringing strong winds and heavy rain. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 6, 2015. A severe weather warning is still in place for much of Scotland as a clean up operation from Storm Desmond swung into action. Homes and roads remain flooded as the weather warning was downgraded from a rare red warning in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday. Nearly 200mm of rain fell in Britain's wettest area Shap, in Cumbria. The bad weather has abated in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, after around 100 properties were evacuated but emergency services remain on standby. See PA story WEATHER Winter Scotland. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Three serious floods in just a decade have torpedoed assertions Hawick residents would never again suffer the flooding the town saw in 2005.

So says Hawick provost and chair of the local volunteer flood group, Councillor Stuart Marshall, after Storm Desmond unleashed the worst local flooding for 10 years.

Days of record-breaking rainfall saw 600 forced to flee their homes as the Teviot burst its banks for the 16th time in recorded history, engulfing around properties and businesses, and even ripping part of a street away.

Hawick was the worst hit part of the Borders and Mr Marshall and many others say the proposed flood protection scheme, not due to start construction until the end of 2018, must now be brought forward.

“When the floods hit in 2005 we were told it was a one-in-200 year event. We also had floods in November 2009 and the latest at the weekend, which makes a total of three in 10 years, makes it clear that this is obviously not the case,” he said.

“I am concerned those affected this time may well be hit again before the flood defence is installed. The victims I have spoken to over the past few days are now demanding this process is accelerated. Enough is enough. It is the same businesses and householders who are affected time after time. It is just not good enough.”

Scottish flooding minister Aileen McLeod was in Hawick this week to see for herself the damage caused and the Borders is also expected to get the bulk of £4million in emergency aid earmarked for Scotland by the Westminster Government.

There was even a message from The Queen, who told communities: “Please convey my sympathy to all those whose homes or livelihoods have been affected by the recent flooding. My thanks go to members of the emergency services, local authorities, military personnel and volunteers providing assistance in these difficult conditions.”

HAWICK HEROES, PAGES 12-13