Moray Council has been told that they must adopt a “clear partnership approach” in dealing with drainage problems in Moray – and should not resort to buck-passing over the issue.
That was the message delivered by the region’s MSP after he held what was described as a “helpful” meeting with the chief executive of Scottish Water on Friday.
Richard Lochhead’s meeting with Scottish Water’s Douglas Millican had been arranged before flooding returned to several Moray communities this week.
Many of the issues being faced by communities are blamed on poor drainage, with accusations laid on the door of Scottish Water for failing to take remedial action.
However, Mr Lochhead insisted that while Scottish Water do have a responsibility for sewers the responsibility for surface water rests with local authorities.
He said: “Many local businesses and homeowners that have been affected during recent extreme weather conditions are very keen for action to be taken.
“The responsibility for surface water lies on local authorities like Moray Council, whereas the sewers are the responsibility of Scottish Water. I welcome the consideration of Scottish Water to engage directly with Moray Council and ensure there is a very active partnership approach in place that has perhaps been lacking in the past.
“This will hopefully ensure that the cause of each flooding event by surface water is identified swiftly and solutions put in place in due course.
“Now that I have met Scottish Water, I am very keen to meet the council to understand what action is in the pipeline to address the very significant volumes of surface water in many of the local communities.
“We have to ensure they are not buck-passing and instead adopt a very clear partnership approach and a strategy that the public and everyone affected want to see in place to deal with the problems due to more and more extreme weather events.”
A spokesman for Scottish Water described the meeting as “positive and constructive”, saying: “It provided the opportunity to discuss a number of flooding issues, which had been raised with Mr Lochhead by Moray Council and local businesses in Elgin.
“It also afforded the opportunity for Mr Millican to outline the progress and plans being made to reduce the number of properties at risk from sewer flooding.”
Moray Council say that the issues raised echoed those discussed with Mr Millican earlier this week in a meeting with the leader of Moray Council and council officers, adding that these had paved the way for further discussions at senior officer level in the near future.