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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Winter cash diverted to flooding
Snowplough on the A9 in the Highlands
A snowplough rolls along the A9 in the Highlands
A council plans to divert money from keeping roads clear in winter to tackling a rising threat of flooding.

Highland Council says it needs to adapt to the realities of climate change.

The authority earmarks about 5.5m a year on winter maintenance of roads and spreads salt on more local roads than any other council in Scotland.

More money looks set to be spent on flood prevention, with cash being diverted to drainage and work on the most vulnerable watercourses.

Before Christmas, flooding in Kingussie closed the school there.

Last October, large areas of the Highlands were hit by severe flooding.

Sections of the A9 north of Inverness were closed and the railway line at Helmsdale was washed away.

FLASH FLOODS
Rescuers carry a dingy during flash floods in Inverness in September 2002
Flash floods caused chaos in Inverness in September 2002
People were forced to leave their homes in Drakies, Hilton and Culloden
Two hundred guests were also evacuated from the city's Thistle Hotel by dinghies and rubber boats

The council said it wanted to get funding to prevent flooding in areas which had a history of flood damage.

It has also committed itself to completing the south-west relief channel for the Inverness flood prevention scheme by 2010 and said it needed to continue to adapt its service to cope with the impact of climate change.

Following a visit to Dingwall - one of the towns worst affected by last October's floods - the then Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin said emergency funds would not be released to cover the cost of damage caused by flooding in the Highlands.

She told parliament there were no imminent plans to activate the Bellwin Scheme, which awards special grants.

The Highlands are traditionally expected to be one of the regions hardest hit by bad winter weather.

The council's winter budget pays for a fleet of 140 gritters, 58 footpath clearers and five snow blowers.

Over a typical winter it would expect to spread about 60,000 tonnes of salt on more local roads than any other council in Scotland.

But with the winters getting warmer the council said it must acknowledge it needs to move resources away from snow clearing.


SEE ALSO
Councillors asked to boost budget
26 Jan 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Evacuated high school stays shut
14 Dec 06 |  Highlands and Islands
No emergency grants after floods
01 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Minister visits storm-hit north
29 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Power returns to storm-hit homes
27 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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