Climate sceptics should ‘think again’ after extreme weather, says council leader

Alex Nicoll, co-leader of Aberdeenshire Council, spoke after the area was hit by heavy rain over the weekend.

Lauren Gilmour
Monday 21 November 2022 14:49 GMT
Edinburgh was also hit by flooding over the weekend (Katharine Hay/PA)
Edinburgh was also hit by flooding over the weekend (Katharine Hay/PA) (PA Wire)

The co-leader of Aberdeen City Council has said climate change doubters should “think again” following a weekend of extreme weather in the north east of Scotland.

Clean-up operations are now underway across the north east after a major incident was announced across the area on Friday evening as a month’s worth of rain fell in just one night.

Hazel Nairn, 71, was swept into the river Don near Monymusk in Aberdeenshire as heavy rain battered the area on Friday, and remains missing.

Roads were closed as a result of flooding as rivers burst their banks and trains were cancelled in the area over the weekend.

Speaking about the aftermath to BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Alex Nicoll said: “I am a firm believer that climate change is underway and we have to do everything we can to minimise it.

“So I think anyone who doesn’t have serious concerns about climate change, maybe needs to think again.”

Water levels in rivers around Aberdeenshire have begun to fall but still remain high in some areas. Members of the public have been urged to take care.

The chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council, John Savage, said the levels had not been “this high” in a number of years.

Mr Savage told Good Morning Scotland: “We had record levels of water in the Donside area, really high in the Deeside areas. So very extensive rain over a couple of days.

“The rivers were pretty high as we saw some and a lot of surface water coming off fields in the higher ground that caused some problems, primarily for our roads and our sort of landscape area.”

“I think what is unusual is, we’ve not seen, according to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), the levels of water as high as this for a number of years.”

Mr Savage said “not too many properties” had been flooded and the council would be stepping in to assist with their clean-up efforts.

On Friday evening, Police Scotland declared a major incident following the extreme weather.

Mr Nicoll, said measures have to be in place for dealing with extreme weather events but as a city, Aberdeen was having to deploy them “more readily”.

“Well, we have major investments underway regarding flood defence, and also for coastal erosion, because these are problems, they are going to continue in the decades ahead.

“So as a local authority, we have to take steps to obviously consider and minimise that.”

Aberdeen’s Christmas lights switch on was delayed by the weather, but Mr Nicoll said “it lifted the spirits” of people in the city.

Mr Savage also said a woman, who was swept away by rapid flood waters on Friday evening, was still missing.

The Met Office had a yellow weather warning in place for ice in the north east until 9am on Monday morning.

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