Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



SNP Councillors in Moray have criticised Independent and Tory Councillors who voted against progressing schemes for their own flood-hit communities.

The SNP’s proposal to progress the schemes as part of Moray Council’s Capital Budget would have been passed with the support of any one of the 5 ward councillors who voted against the motion but without that single vote the 3 communities will have to wait with no guarantees that the work will now be done.

The proposal to progress the flood schemes for Hopeman, Dallas and Portessie was ultimately tied at 13 votes each with the Convener, Tory Councillor Allan Wright, using his casting vote to reject the motion and put the schemes into future competition with other projects. Councillor Wright’s ward includes the community of Hopeman, which was hit by bad flooding in 2014.

Two other Independent councillors representing Hopeman, Councillor Chris Tuke and Councillor Dennis Slater, who was recently elected in a by-election with a promise to back a scheme for Hopeman, also failed to support the progression of the schemes.

Independent Speyside Glenlivet Councillor Fiona Murdoch failed to back the scheme for Dallas in her own ward, also severely flooded last year, while Independent Councillor for Buckie Gordon Cowie failed to back a scheme for Portessie, which regularly suffers seawater flooding.

Speaking after the meeting Buckie SNP Councillor Gordon McDonald, who proposed the SNP’s motion, said:

“I was shocked that Independent councillors believe that protecting these communities from flooding is not a priority. SNP Councillors were unanimous in their support of these schemes being prioritised and progressed now and it is extremely disappointing that those who voted against us do not share the same level of concern.

“It is especially disappointing that a councillor in Heldon & Laich elected only a matter of weeks ago has managed to vote against a scheme that he campaigned for.”

Fellow SNP ward councillor Sonya Warren said:

“The long history of flooding in Portessie affects many households, who are constantly worried about what the next major storm will bring. The SNP will continue to work to convince the Independents and Tories that this is the wrong direction to go in and that a flood scheme must be designed and built as a major priority.”

Speyside Glenlivet SNP Councillor Pearl Paul, who seconded the motion, said:

“Dallas was severely hit by flooding just over a year ago leaving people out of their homes for months and with the loss of many personal belongings, some of which can never be replaced. Flooding is deeply distressing for those affected and these schemes have been shown to have good value for money. They should have progressed today and I can’t believe that local Independent representatives have kicked them into the long grass.”

Fellow SNP Ward Councillor in Speyside Glenlivet Mike McConachie said:

“Many of my constituents in Dallas were affected by flooding and I know that the flooding in Hopeman and Portessie has been equally distressing for all the people who have been put out their homes as a result of these events. The SNP stood firmly behind those communities today while others failed to act.”