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Emergency centre poised for launch

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A TEAM tasked with ensuring best practice nationally in dealing with major emergencies could begin work at Dumfries by March.

FLOODING . . . one of the emergencies for which the Dumfries-based National Centre for Resilience aims to enhance the response

 

The National Centre for Resilience (NCR) will initially employ six people at their Crichton complex base and focus on extreme weather events and other major emergencies.

Progress by the Scottish Government in establishing the centre was outlined on Monday by Environment Minister Aileen McLeod.

She was on a visit to Dumfries to discuss plans for the development with local partners.

Dr McLeod — pictured below, right — predicted the centre would enhance response to emergencies.

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She said: “We already have a great deal of expertise in Scotland in dealing with emergency situations and the NCR will play a key role in supporting our planning.

“We are well on track to officially open the centre in March next year.”

The Scottish Government state the centre will provide expertise for managing emergency incidents.

An early objective will be improving identification of vulnerable people within communities during emergencies and better systems to assist in ‘developing and maintaining resilience.’

Other key projects were the development of guidance notes supporting science, communications and community resilience for specific hazards, including landslides, flooding and wind incidents.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Longer term, new hazard forecasting tools utilising cutting edge science to better predict natural hazards will be developed with key partners such as the Met Office, SEPA and the British Geological Survey.”

David Faichney, of SEPA’s Flood Unit, said: “We have been involved in this collaboration from the very outset and are committed to contributing to its success.

“SEPA has considerable relevant experience and skills to offer given our flood forecasting and warning, airborne hazard and other emergency response roles.”

He added: “The powerful combination of the ‘science’ and ‘community’ elements brought together through the NCR will help develop our resilience in Scotland.”

Met Office government services director Phil Evans said: “The work within the NCR will help improve, develop and inform Met Office key output.

“This includes our work with SEPA in delivering advice on flood risk through the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service and our support to Transport Scotland in keeping Scotland moving.”

 

Council leader slams delays

THERE was criticism of the Scottish Government over ‘a lack of progress’ in establishing the National Resilience Centre (NCR) at Dumfries.

Councillor Ronnie Nicholson, leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, met with Environment Minister Aileen McLeod at the Crichton site on Monday.

The Labour councillor pointed out SNP Ministers originally announced their commitment to establish the NCR at the Crichton in August 2014 and had been urged by the council this summer to ‘renew the impetus’ in developing the project.

CONCERN . . . Cllr Ronnie Nicholson *** Local Caption ***  CONCERN . . . Cllr Ronnie NicholsonHowever, after the meeting, Councillor Nicholson — pictured right — hit out at what he stated was a lack of detail about the exact location and number of jobs.

Cllr Nicholson said: “The council backed the establishment of the centre in good faith and has supported the work to date so it is very disappointing that the Scottish Government have been dragging their heals.”

He stated that when the original announcement was made the Scottish Government was under fire over job losses with the police control room closure at Dumfries.

Cllr Nicholson added: “The announcement was rushed out with the spin all about how new jobs were coming to the area. The reality is that looks unlikely, with, at best, only a handful of new posts being created.”

 

NEWSDESK: 01461-202417

 

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