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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Expert warns of further landslips
Rubble blocks the A85 after the two landslides trapped drivers
Rubble blocks the A85 after the two landslides trapped drivers
An expert has warned that landslides such as those seen this week in Perthshire and north Cornwall are set to become more common.

Professor Alan Werritty was reflecting on the operation to rescue 57 motorists who were trapped by two major mudslides on the A85 near Lochearnhead.

Professor Werritty, of the geography department at Dundee University, said landslides had occurred for many years.

"The challenge is that they are set to become more frequent," he warned.

We've got to learn to live with them and make sure the emergency services can do as good a job as they did yesterday
Professor Alan Werritty
"That's the real difficulty. Landslips of the kind we saw yesterday have occurred in Scotland over many hundreds of thousands of years.

"It just happens that yesterday there was a road in the way. There's a contradiction here.

"On the one hand, the climate scientists tell us that the summers are going to get dryer, but they also tell us at the same time that when it does rain, that rainfall is going to be more severe and that's what we've got to begin to get used to."

Services 'heroes'

"I guess what we can try and do is protect those roads, when we can identify where that threat is most severe.

"Otherwise, we've got to learn to live with them and make sure the emergency services can do as good a job as they did yesterday.

"They are the heroes of the hour."

The A85 through Lochearnhead is a picturesque and popular route from central Scotland into the southern Highlands.

Many tourists were among those who had to be rescued by helicopter when the two landslides swept across the road.

Tropical storm

Experts say long periods of heavy rain caused, in part, by tropical storm Bonnie led to the slips.

Weatherman John Millard explained: "Bonnie is bound up in the low pressure system that's bringing all our unsettled weather."

The Met Office forecaster added: "A band of heavy weather that went over Scotland yesterday morning, combined with heavy showers in the afternoon, was probably enough to tip the situation over the edge."

Torrential downpours are part of a pattern of above average rainfall which has led to Scotland receiving 85% of its average rainfall for August in the first half of the month.


SEE ALSO:
In Pictures: Scotland landslide
19 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
Motorists rescued from landslide
18 Aug 04  |  Scotland
Prince sees Boscastle devastation
18 Aug 04  |  Cornwall
A9 route reopens after landslide
12 Aug 04  |  Scotland


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