SENIOR SNP politicians have asked “serious questions” of a Scottish council after key flood gates were not closed – leading to extensive water damage to homes and businesses.

It comes after the city of Perth was deluged with heavy rain over the weekend leading to many properties – including Bell’s Sports Centre – being flooded.

But despite an amber weather warning for being in place for several days, and a severe flood warning for Perth of “danger to life” on Sunday, the North Inch flood gates were not closed.

Perth and Kinross Council initially sparked anger after claiming the warnings had come too late to close the gates, saying in a statement: “[The Scottish Environment Protection Agency] has issued a severe flood warning for Perth, from the North Inch to Friarton Bridge.

“The Tay rose higher than expected overnight on Saturday. Unfortunately the warning about the river level was too late to close the flood gate on the North Inch, which has resulted in the area flooding.”

The National: Water levels in the Tay reached near record highsWater levels in the Tay reached near record highs (Image: Susan Morrison/LDR)

John Swinney, the MSP for Perthshire North and former deputy first minister, said the council needed to be open about what had happened.

He said: “From speaking with local residents, there is clearly concern about the closure of the North Inch floodgates.

“It is vital that Perth and Kinross Council address these concerns openly, and provide a full explanation of the situation.

“I have raised these concerns already with Perth and Kinross Council, and I think it is important that the council engage with all affected parties regarding this matter.”

And the SNP’s longest serving MP, Pete Wishart, said: “The weather over the weekend has been utterly appalling, and has caused widespread damage all over Perthshire.

“I know how distressing this has been for those who have had their homes and businesses flooded; particularly in Perth which seems to have gotten it the worst, and where flooding has become a regular occurrence. All available resources must now be mobilised as part of the recovery efforts.”

The National: SNP MSP John Swinney (left) with SNP MP Pete WishartSNP MSP John Swinney (left) with SNP MP Pete Wishart (Image: LDR)

Wishart, who represents Perth and North Perthshire, added: “There are also serious questions about why the flood gates at the North Inch weren’t closed until so late on. Doing so earlier would have undoubtedly prevented at least some of the damage in the area.

“This is something that needs looked into urgently, and which I will be raising at a meeting with PKC senior management.”

After the meeting on Monday, SNP MSP Jim Fairlie said he had also been talking to the council, and warned people of further rain to come.

“I have spent much of this afternoon with @PeteWishart and @JohnSwinney talking to Perth and Kinross Council regarding flooding issues over the weekend,” Fairlie wrote. “There is more rain to come so please stay vigilant folks.”

A PKC spokesperson said: “We understand how distressing flooding events are for people and this weekend has been extremely challenging for many people.

READ MORE: More heavy rain warnings issued after flooding across Scotland

“Perth and Kinross – like much of Scotland – has seen extreme amounts of rainfall since Friday and our officers have been supporting our communities and residents affected by flooding, including helping with the evacuation of Aberfeldy Holiday Park on Saturday.

“The rainfall overnight on Saturday led to a rapid and near unprecedented rise in water levels of the Tay which led to the North Inch being flooded before gates could be closed.

“According to Sepa, water levels rose to 4.9m on Sunday morning, near the record level of 4.93 metres recorded 30 years ago, and more than double the level it was at 24 hours earlier.

“We will be reviewing our response to the incident to see what can be learned for future events. We will also be speaking to residents to hear about their experiences to better understand what happened and the impact on them.

“We are extremely grateful to Community Resilience Groups across Perth and Kinross who assisted residents impacted by flooding over the weekend.

“We are continuing to assist residents affected by flooding across Perth and Kinross and are preparing for further rainfall on Tuesday. We would advise residents to remain vigilant and anyone who requires support should contact us on 01738 476476.

“There is a considerable amount of standing water across Perth and Kinross and we would remind people not to enter or play in water as it can be extremely hazardous.”