Stonehaven flood protection within three and half years

Stonehaven was hit by a deluge of flooding before Christmas. Picture: PA

Stonehaven was hit by a deluge of flooding before Christmas. Picture: PA

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A FLOOD protection scheme for the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven - devastated by two deluges in three years - could completed within three and half years, councillors were told today.

• At least 40 homes and businesses were flooded before Christmas after the River Carron burst its banks

• Philip McKay said a flood protection order could be in place within two years

• He added that construction work could be completed within 18 months

At least 40 homes and businesses were flooded two days before Christmas after the River Carron burst its banks and flooded roads around the High Street area of the town.

The town was hit by a combination of water cascading down from the surrounding hills after days of torrential rain, and the River Carron bursting its banks. Many of the homes were also flooded in November 2009, when the Carron also burst its banks.

Philip McKay, the council’s head of roads, told members of Aberdeenshire Council’s policy and resources committee that, with a “fair wind,” a flood protection order for the town could be in place within two years. And construction work could then be completed within 18 months.

But he also warned that there could be resistance from local landowners facing the compulsory purchase of their land for the flood protection scheme.

Mr McKay said: “We are examining six possible options and just finalising which scheme we would recommend. The man issue is whether we have upstream storage for the catchment or whether we put the majority of the protection into the lower reaches of the Carron itself.”

He explained: “Depending on the type of objections we receive, the granting of a flood alleviation order could be a council decision. If there are statutory objectors then it would be called in by the Scottish Goverment.”

Mr McKay also told the committee that the council had dealt with more than 170 different flooding incidents in December and that it had now been assessed that that total damage to council assets, including roads and bridges, had reached £2 million.

Meanwhile Moray Council today warned motorists that a year-long diversion of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road will come in to operation at Forres from Tuesday, 5 March, as part of the construction work on the long awaited flood alleviation scheme for the town.

A council spokesman said: “The diversion will take traffic off the main road for a short distance before returning to the west of the existing main roundabout that accesses the town and the Greshop industrial estate.

“The 800memtre long diversion is being made to allow work on the £45million flood alleviation scheme at Forres to continue whilst keeping traffic disruption to a minimum. Whilst the diversion is in operation a section of the existing A96 will be dismantled and rebuilt three metres higher. This is to accommodate a defensive bund that will form part of the overall scheme.”

Councillor George Alexander, chairman of Moray Council’s Flood Alleviation Sub-Committee, said: “The project is making really good progress thanks to a number of elements, not least the fine weather we have had over the last period. The protection and peace of mind this scheme will give the people of Forres will be worth the small inconvenience of this diversion.

“Moray Council’s investment in this scheme will mean that hundreds of homes and businesses can plan for the future with confidence.”

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