§ Mr. Tam Dalyell
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps the Government are taking to bring relief to those affected by the recent flooding in Scotland.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
The House will wish to know that, according to the latest information I have, the position everywhere has improved and is well under control. Local agencies are coping well with the practical difficulties. My Departments are keeping closely in touch with the situation: the effects are still being assessed, but I have no evidence to suggest that special Government help is called for.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that, for many farms in the North of Scotland, this will have been an especially bitter blow, as it follows the very difficult period through which agriculture in that area has been passing recently? Has he noted that the latest reports indicate that there may be flooding again in the near future in the Glasgow area? Will he do his best to take all precautions there?
§ Mr. Younger
Has the Secretary of State yet had time to consider whether it would be worth while putting an inquiry in hand to discover whether there is some means whereby floods such as these are prevented from happening in future?
§ Mr. Buchan
This is not the first time that the River Cart has caused difficulties in Renfrewshire and Glasgow and has overflowed. If we have had discussions about this before, it is time that they were resuscitated and improvements made for the future.
§ Mr. Ross
Yes, I will gladly do that. I am anxiously awaiting the return of my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) who, because of the flooding, has not been able to get back here. We hope to see him either later tonight or first thing tomorrow morning with a first hand report.
§ Mr. James Davidson
Would the right hon. Gentleman inform the House to what extent communications—roads and railways—have been disrupted by these floods and whether this disruption has been tackled?
§ Mr. Ross
They are all being tackled. In Ross and Cromarty two roads were still blocked by landslide, but they are expected to be clear today. In Inverness, there is a bridge down on the Newton-more and Laggan Bridge road. It may be reopened today. In the meantime, an alternative route is available via Dalwhinnie. I shall be getting further reports later this afternoon.
§ Mr. Manuel
Would my right hon. Friend agree that the only cure for recurring flooding in the same areas whenever we get heavy rain is the better use of flood prevention legislation and possibly better legislation put on the Statute Book to counter the floods?
§ Mr. Ross
My hon. Friend will appreciate that there are two flood prevention schemes in Scotland. First, there is a scheme for flood prevention in country areas which depends entirely on the initiative of local landowners. Secondly, there is prevention within the burghs. Unless we get comprehensive legislation, we cannot deal with the matter properly. This is the thing for which we should all work.