I hope everyone had a good Christmas and I wish everybody a Happy New Year. However, for many constituents, the holiday was blighted by flooding along the Dee, and across much of the North East.
Deeside Caravan Park in Maryculter has been badly affected, as has Corbie Hall, which has affected all the groups who use the hall. A storage shed used by some of the groups has floated down the river, and equipment used by other groups is ruined. I am pleased that my colleague Stuart Donaldson MP was free to join the call for volunteers to help with the clean-up.
I have asked Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, for details of the impact on the AWPR works, including the new bridge. A number of farms have been seriously affected by the floods. I know that the Scottish Government is working with NFU Scotland to help farmers deal with the impact, such as damage to winter crops.
Both City and Shire Councils will need to work together with SEPA to explore ways of reducing the impact of future flooding. This year the Scottish Government implemented reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy to support farmers to introduce “Greening” measures. These measures are being introduced precisely to assist in planning for events like this precipitated by climate change.
Trees and plants improve water penetration into the ground, which has the effect of slowing floodwater in extreme events like the floods we have just experienced. I hope that by using techniques like this, we can reduce the impact of flooding in the long term.
It has been very encouraging to see how people have rallied round to support each other. Social media is full of examples of people providing help. A plant hire firm has offered free pumping equipment, people are taking strangers into their spare rooms, and so many people have made donations of food and clothing that extra volunteers were needed to sort them all. These are just some of the stories highlighting the strength of community spirit here. We should be proud of our people for being so welcoming in hard times, and I am proud to represent people who are willing to go the extra mile to help others in difficult times.