Greenock Telegraph 28th February 2020

I make no apology for returning to a topic I have mentioned numerous times before. After a weekend of torrential rain and flooding it would appear that we still have lessons to learn in Inverclyde. Once again, the main road to Glasgow has seen major disruption. Granted, the weather we experienced over the 21st and 22nd was extreme, even by Inverclyde standards but if predictions are correct then we can expect to see more extreme weather in the years to come. Progress has been made and it was noticeable that Greenock West railway station did not flood and that the work along Inverkip road has also been successful. But if we are to maintain road and rail links to Glasgow and crucially the health provisions that we seek from there then more work is required.

The facts are clear for everyone to see. Inverclyde is primarily built on the side of hills. The populated areas of Inverclyde are on the river side of the hills. It rains a lot. Water runs down hills. Without interference from us the water will, over time, find its own way to other bodies of water. Locally the principle body of water is the River Clyde. Historically this job was done by a network of burns running into the Clyde. It wasn’t always successful and high tides have caused floods on the lower roads since the end of the 19th century.

The best solution is to work with nature and not against it. No amount of concrete will solve the problem. Rainfall must be trapped as it falls. The reforestation of Inverclyde should be a major project. Capturing the rain in the hills through smart planting of the right trees in the right areas, the creation of flood bunds and flood plain storage will not only reduce the water flowing down the hills it will create jobs and improve our environment. We already have excellent projects run by Parklea Branching Out, Friends of Coves nature reserve and Belville Gardens. The knowledge acquired in these projects must be utilised and expanded. Reforestation will create a natural habitat for wildlife and enhance the area. The rainfall that is perceived as a problem could become part of a solution.