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Swinney pressed on bridge replacement position

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Swinney pressed on bridge replacement position

QUESTIONS have been asked of the Scottish Government about their commitment to consider funding for the Annan footbridges.

During a visit to the area in the aftermath of the October floods which destroyed the Cuthbertson and Jubilee bridges, Deputy First Minister John Swinney committed the government to consider funding their replacements.

And now South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has pressed Mr Swinney for updates on that position.

Speaking during a Holyrood debate on the ongoing impact of Storm Arwen, Mr Smyth said: “Just weeks before storm Arwen, my region suffered devastating flooding.

“In Dumfries—the largest town in Scotland that floods regularly but still has no flood protection scheme—the banks of the River Nith burst again. However, Government funding for flood protection schemes is oversubscribed for the next five years.

“On the River Annan, two historic footbridges—the Cuthbertson memorial bridge and the Diamond Jubilee bridge—were washed away by the flood.

“Weeks later, in Drummore, in the west of the region, a 40-foot section of the harbour wall was destroyed by storm Barra.

“I know that the Deputy First Minister knows those issues very well; he visited Annan to see the damage for himself, and he told Parliament that the Government was considering what support it could give for reinstatement of the footbridges in Annan and of the harbour wall in Drummore. I hope that the Deputy First Minister and the Government will be true to their word and that funding will be allocated to those communities for the devastating impact of the storms.”

He also called for longer term support to councils and communities for building community resilience.

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