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New public inquiry on Whitesands flood scheme could be held

Whitesands flood protection and regeneration scheme Photo: ITV Border

A new public inquiry into the Whitesands floods project will be held, following the creation of the Labour-SNP coalition council in Dumfries and Galloway.

The leader of the council, Elaine Murray, says councillors will still consider the proposed scheme by the former council:

The Labour group of councillors continues to consider the proposed scheme to be the correct one for Dumfries to protect properties from flooding and also to encourage the regeneration of the Whitesands area and Dumfries town centre. We consistently maintained this position throughout the council election period and nothing has changed. However, we are content to ask the Scottish Government to hold a public inquiry, which the Government would fund, to give the public another opportunity to express their views through a mechanism that will be entirely independent of the Council.

– Elaine Murray, Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader

Deputy council leader, Rod Davidson, says this move will follow on the SNP's manifesto's commitment to "revisit" the Whitesands scheme:

In our manifesto, the SNP committed to revisit the Whitesands Scheme. We believe that the best way of doing this is through an independent public inquiry, to which the public will be encouraged to give evidence, and the outcome of which would have legal standing. Rather than rely on the flood scheme promotion process to decide whether or not such a public inquiry might happen, we have agreed with our administration partners that we should make sure that it does by asking the Scottish Government to hold one. We would then implement the findings of that inquiry. We believe the Whitesands should have a flood defence scheme, but it has to be the right scheme for Dumfries. A public Inquiry would be the best way to ensure we end up with the right scheme.

– Rob Davidson, Dumfries and Galloway Deputy Council Leader