Storm Babet: What's the history of floods in Brechin, and what were the measures to prevent them?

Power cuts and travel disruption are widespread across the UK from Storm Babet.

Storm Babet has caused chaos across Scotland with hundreds of homes evacuated in Angus.

On Thursday a woman’s body was recovered from a river in Angus, after the 57-year-old was swept into the Water of Lee at Glen Esk, while a 56-year-old driver was killed on Friday morning after a tree struck a van.

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It has also seen the entire town of Brechin in Angus evacuated over flooding fears – the first major flood to hit the location for 20 years.

According to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, there are about 100 residential properties and 70 non-residential properties at risk of flooding, with the annual average damages estimated to be around £670,000 in the event of a flood.

The area has a long history of flooding, first starting in 1774, with water levels rising ever since. In May 1913, Brechin saw river levels reach 0.8m above the road level of River Street, while on October 5, 1920, the river level reached nine feet above normal levels.

By 1939, bottom flats were having water cascade through their doors and windows, while major floods also took place in 1951, 1957 and 1982.

The most recent floods mark the first severe incident since November 21, 2002, where families were evacuated and temporarily relocated after defence on the River South Esk failed to hold the water back. Thirty properties were flooded and roads were closed.

Ministers had sought to address the problem in 2016, with the-then Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham unveiling new flood walls and embankments, as well as upgrades to the water drainage system and the Denburn culvert.

The £16.3 million project was designed to provide a one-in-200-years’ standard of defence and represented one of the biggest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in Angus.

Despite this, some pump stations to remove surface water did not start automatically in Brechin following floods in November last year.

Two of three pump stations aimed at removing surface water from the town's River Street did not start automatically when water was detected.



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