Warning over flood risk in Uist

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have been warned that a lack of action over flood risk problems in the Iochdar coastal areas of Uist could put homes at risk this winter, with water levels expected to continue to rise.

While around £10 million has been invested in various parts of Uist over the last 10 years to provide more protection from surging seas — following the catastrophic storms of 2005 — a significant amount of work has still to be carried out on the South Ford causeway linking Benbecula and South Uist.

Currently, the surrounding flat land is subject to flooding from Loch Bi. While the opening of a new section of the causeway with a bridge is seen as the most effective measure in allowing water to escape — and was strongly recommended by the local community — it is also the most expensive.

At a meeting of the council’s transportation committee last Wednesday it was agreed to adopt a flood risk management scheme for the area.

It is expected to involve the installation of outlet valves on the causeway. However, that work cannot proceed until next spring.

South Uist councillor Ronnie MacKinnon said: “In the last 10 years we have done nothing here. The locals have told you what needs to be done but we are not listening.

“Last year the water was up to people’s doorsteps. We know it’s going to keep rising if we don’t do anything about it, so it’s going to be in their houses this year.”