‘Huge step forward’ in service to alert Teries to risk of flooding

MORE THAN 1,000 Teries who are at risk from flooding in Hawick can now register for a new warning service launched by SEPA.

The new Scotland-wide Floodline direct warning is a state-of-the-art service which aims to provide the earliest possible warning for residents living at threat from a flooding river – which the agency has estimated to be particularly high in Hawick – with 141 properties near the Slitrig, 905 from the Teviot, and 39 from Hawick to Monteviot.

Having taken over the role of issuing flood warnings to those who have registered with Scottish Borders Council’s Emergency Planning, funding from the Scottish Government has enabled SEPA to develop and run the new direct warning service - which is a significant improvement to the existing Floodline recorded telephone and website facility. The service improvements include new easy-to understand warning symbols, the creation of 200 local flood warning areaS, and new Floodline quick dial codes. The agency is also writing to anyone at risk and providing valuable contact information.

Professor James Curran, SEPA’s director of science and strategy, said: “The improvements we have made to Floodline are a huge step forward in terms of flood warning for Scotland.”

Hawick Volunteer Flood Group chairman Stuart Marshall has welcomed the new service, but has also called for an improvement to the website during a flood alert. He said: “It was clear from the last time we were in action that the website was only being updated every 12 hours. This information is critical, not only to us, but most importantly to those most at risk.

“We feel strongly that there should be at least 30-minute updates, and have taken issue with SEPA on this and hope for a favourable response very soon.”

Councillor Marshall says he is also keen to disucuss the idea of a stand down message to be relayed to their group either by text, call or email. He said: “This would not only benefit us, but it would also help us pass the message on to those who may be sitting up all night fearing the worst.”

People can sign up now by visiting www.floodlinescotland.org.uk/signup