It never rains but it pours

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Dear Spurtle,

Re: 'Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme'.

Rainfall in Scotland can hardly be described as an unexpected occurrence, and an increase in future severe weather events is probably inevitable.

But the situation in Edinburgh is not helped by a Kafkaesque interaction between various actors: the Local Authority, which prioritises housing development on floodplains which are then no longer available to take the overflow during heavy rain; Scottish Water, responsible for an antiquated and poorly charted sewerage system, but not for clearing gullies or the supervision of adequate implementation of a Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS); the National Galleries of Scotland, responsible for clearing debris gathered behind the Gormleys; Forth Ports, in charge of the Leith harbour basin and the lock to discharge the Water of Leith into the sea; and Scottish Ministers, who often overrule their own expert agency, SEPA, in planning cases.

Add to this the routinely granted planning approval of paved driveways being laid over front gardens, every time increasing the total hard surface area in Edinburgh and the demand on the drainage system, and I am inclined to agree with Alexander Hill's assessment (though not with his chosen metaphor): flood planning and management is 'a Spaghetti Junction of legislation and conflicting goals'.

Harald Tobermann
Vice Chair,
Leith Central Community Council