Arbuthnott drain options discussed

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A report by JBA consultants has laid out possibilities for reducing the risk of flooding to Stonehaven from the Arbuthnott drain.

The Flood Alleviation Study for the River Carron (2011) identified Arbuthnott Place as likely to flood at return periods less than 1 in 25 years.

As a result of this, JBA were commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council to investigate options to reduce flood risk in the area of Arbuthnott Place.

The report discusses possible options for the improvement of Arbuthnott drain in Stonehaven. These can be broken down to gravity based or pumped schemes.

Costs of the schemes are also outlined in the report, with it varying from around £230,000 to £990,000.

Chair of Stonehaven flood action group, Greig Walker, has reviewed the report and has made his recommendations for what he feels is the best option for the town.

He said: “It is my opinion that the best option to be considered is utilising the existing culvert under Arbuthnott Court, incorporating the large tank and pumps. This option can remove as much as 833 litres of water per second, could empty an Olympic swimming pool in under an hour and could not only deal with any pluvial threat (rain and surface water) it could also go some way to help protect us from the fluvial (rivers and watercourse) threat we face.”

His views are backed up by the report which states: “it is considered that a gravity system supplemented by pumping would provide the most robust method of flood alleviation and a higher standard of protection”

Mr Walker was therefore concerned when he learned that Aberdeenshire Council’s preferred option is a gravity only system which he said:“may well be better aligned to their cost/benefit way of thinking.”

However, when contacted by the Leader Aberdeenshire Council said that no formal decision has been made yet regarding options for the work.

Mr Walker has called on the council to seriously consider what they do with the Arbuthnott drain.

He said: “We cannot see what lies ahead, the weather around us is changing and it is inevitable that we will be at a greater risk of flooding in years to come, however only time will tell if Aberdeenshire Council can attempt to look further than they can see

‘‘They have identified the Arbuthnott drain as the best short term method of alleviating flood risk, I just hope they choose the correct option first time and don’t end up chasing their tails in years to come wishing they had. The time for decisive action is now; let’s hope that the council can help not only us, but also our insurers, to restore some faith in them and in the town we live in and love.”

Changes to Arbuthnott drain is just the beginning of work in the town to offer some alleviation from flooding. The JBA report is working on the assumption that the larger Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme would also be in place and that additional capacity to intercept flood water due to banks overtopping from the River Carron or Glaslaw Burn would not be required.

At this month’s policy and resources committee, head of Aberdeenshire Council’s roads and landscaping services, Philip McKay, said he hoped that the Arbuthnott drain could be improved in the next year.

He added: “Arbuthnott drain by itself isn’t the solution to the water course, but it would have some benefit until the flood protection scheme is in place.

“We intend to take that scheme forward now that we have recommendations from the hydrologist.

“It’s relatively straightforward, and I would hope that within 12 months we would have something on the ground there.”

Councillors at the meeting were told that a larger flooding scheme could be in place in three and a half years.