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Winter preparedness programme will test north-east storm response

By David Porter

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Many trees damaged in Storm Arwen are still to be cleared
Many trees damaged in Storm Arwen are still to be cleared

A NEW programme of preparedness to test Scotland’s response to and recovery from severe weather ahead of the next winter period will be run over the summer.

The Winter Preparedness Programme will be led by the Scottish Resilience Partnership (SRP) and is one of a series of measures developed by the Scottish Government and resilience partners following Storm Arwen to ensure Scotland is better prepared for significant weather events.

Other measures resulting from the review include-

A new online learning and training hub to help individuals, community groups and the voluntary sector to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

The development of a new process to monitor and evaluate Scotland’s resilience system annually to ensure issues are identified and resolved quickly and effectively out with severe weather events.

An information-sharing system to identify and provide swift support for vulnerable people in an area affected by severe weather.

Increased integration and engagement with voluntary sector, and expansion of local directories of assets and capabilities to support resilience activity.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The purpose of the Storm Arwen review was to ensure lessons were learned and translated into real change to ensure Scotland’s collective resilience approach to future severe weather events is as robust as possible.

“The existing Scottish Government and partner arrangements at national, regional and local levels are underpinned by the same fundamental aim – to keep the people of Scotland safe from danger and ensure our communities are resilient and able to bounce back from challenging disruption.

“The Scottish Government and responder organisations have been working hard to begin implementing the review’s recommendations and I am reassured by the progress outlined.

"However, there is no room for complacency and we recognise the need to prepare for increased severe weather. Good planning and preparation is crucial to minimise the impacts on communities as experienced with Storm Arwen.”

Scottish Resilience Partnership chair, and Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Jim Savege, said: “Ensuring we have effective resilience across Scotland – whether at individual or household level, or for emergency responder organisations - requires a continual process of planning and preparation.

"Every incident and response is an opportunity for learning and improvement and this approach is at the heart of the annual SRP-led programme of preparedness.

"This year’s programme has included a strong focus on individual and community resilience which is of vital importance, particularly in light of Storm Arwen.

"I must extend my thanks to communities and organisations who have been working hard to ensure we are as ready and prepared as we can be to respond to and deal with the different events that are inevitably in front of us."

Commenting, Gillian Martin Aberdeenshire MSP said: “The findings of this report are welcome and are a vital step in ensuring lessons are learned and help to instigate real change in how we respond to future severe weather events.

“Constituents of mine were left in desperate situations during Storm Arwen and we must focus now on implementing the review’s recommendations, so we are better prepared.

“It is crucial that in order to minimise the impact on communities we concentrate on good planning and preparation helping to protect communities during extreme weather.”

Visit https://www.gov.scot/publications/storm-arwen-review-recommendations-update-june-2022/ to see the recommendations in full

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