This week's Councillor Column is written by Argyll and Bute Council leader, and Helensburgh councillor, Aileen Morton.

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I’m writing this column while it is windy outside with a bit of sleet – but actually the weather is not too bad considering the forecast!

Fingers crossed by the time you are reading this we have survived the whole of Storm Ciara.

Of course there have been some problems locally: flooding along the seafront as the storm coincided with high tide; East Clyde Street being closed due to concerns over the Clock Tower; and train services to and from Helensburgh substantially disrupted at the weekend.

When you see the coverage of other locations, though, it could all have been so much worse.

READ MORE: In Pictures: Storm Ciara as seen by readers of the Advertiser

There have always been storms, but the changing weather patterns in recent years are definitely having an impact on the frequency of storms that bring with them chaos.

There are now some areas where whole towns or villages are flooding on a regular basis and homeowners can’t get insurance.

While there are still big questions to be answered in terms of protecting infrastructure across the country, there are also steps that individual businesses and homeowners can take to try and protect their properties.

READ MORE: Helensburgh road reopens after Storm Ciara damage to Clock Tower is fixed

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s Floodline website ( allows you to check for warnings, sign up for alerts in your local area and also provides advice on how to prepare for flooding.

It outlines steps everyone can take such as familiarising yourself with how to shut off power and water supplies or fitting flood protection products like air brick covers and flood barriers.

After the Beast from the East in 2018, I have got into the habit of always having some supplies – such as long life milk – in the house. It’s astonishing how quickly “normal service” can disappear in the face of Mother Nature…

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As most people will be aware, February is the month Argyll and Bute Council sets its budget.

This has been difficult this year as the council receives around 80 per cent of its funding from the Scottish Government and their budget process has been delayed this year.

So we’re still working out what all of the Scottish Government’s decisions mean for us here in Argyll and Bute before final decisions are made at the end of the month.

Thanks are due to the many, many people who have taken time to respond to the council’s budget consultation, or who have been in touch directly.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond here