Comunity Councillor Wants Storm Action Plan

By bellmannews / December 15, 2021

At the last SDCC meeting of the year yesterday evening, the Emergency and Resilience response to Storms Arwen and Barra were on the agenda. 

Community Councillor Dawn Black put forward that the SDCC should be part of any emergency and resilience plans for the future and that lessons should be learnt from both the late response of Aberdeenshire Council and the mis-information coming from power supplier SSEN.

Ms Black reported that she had visited Carron Den residents to check on them on the Sunday evening in the aftermath of Storm Arwen and that she heard stories of mixed messaging from the energy companies of who was responsible for getting the estate’s power back on.

Additionally, she said, part of the issue was that SSEN kept changing the goal posts of when power was expected back on, moving the timeline back by 6-10 hours at a time rather than being up front and telling residents truthfully that power was likely to be out for days rather than hours.

Had residents had this information, said Ms Black, they would have been more likely to make alternative accommodation arrangements. Indeed, at least half of the estate that had local relatives and friends able to take them in had already done so. Many who had chosen to stay have gas hobs so were able to cook and boil water for hot water bottles to keep warm. However, some of the vulnerable people housed in the estate do not have these facilities, as do not those in the social housing, being all electric. 

That Aberdeenshire Council did not kick in their response until the Monday morning with emergency telephone lines and that no council buildings were opened up to those needing somewhere to warm up was deemed not good enough by Ms Black. Luckily, when Storm Barra came along a week or so later, the emergency helpline was communicated before the event. 

Ms Black proposed that SDCC lead a co-ordinated plan with other community groups for any such future events so our local community know exactly where to turn should an emergency event happen again. Other Community Councillors felt that this is too big a task for the SDCC to take on and they do not have the resources. A compromise was suggested that the SDCC be actively involved in the Kincardine and Mearns Area Office future planning for emergency and resilience. Community Councillors Dawn Black and Janine Esson put themselves forward to represent the SDCC in this endeavour.