Community Flood Wardens sought

Volunteers are being sought for a new initiative in Stonehaven that will use the knowledge of local people to help residents prepare for flooding at the earliest opportunity.

The Stonehaven Community Flood Warden Scheme has been developed by the Stonehaven Flood Resilience Group – a multi-agency partnership co-ordinated by Aberdeenshire Council - and focuses on flood risks associated with the River Carron in Stonehaven.

The wardens would share information with the council and alert neighbours to impending floods as required, complimenting established procedures for flood monitoring.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Following the receipt of flood alert information from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Aberdeenshire Council liaises with the agency and the Met Office to assess the risk of local flooding.

“Information from the wardens would feed into this assessment and, should a flood be expected, their role in alerting residents and businesses could be invaluable in helping people prepare as best they can.”

Speaking on behalf of the flood group, chairman and Kincardine and Mearns Area Manager Willie Munro said: “Community flood wardens can play a crucial role in helping to prepare a community for the risk of flooding, and their local knowledge can assist in minimising the impact of flooding if it should occur.

“We would stress that the wardens would not be involved in dealing with any flood activity themselves, but their help could provide vital preparation time for those whose properties could be affected.”

Under the scheme, volunteer wardens are being sought across nine zones across Stonehaven, including businesses.

Each zone would require at least two wardens who would be willing to act as local contacts via e-mail and telephone.

The zones are Carron Terrace, Cameron Street, Market Square, Barclay Street, Arbuthnott Street, Dunnottar Avenue, Arbuthnott Place and the Old Town.

Duties would include observing river levels at times of heavy or prolonged rainfall, and report when river levels reach pre-determined levels, to be indicated on marker boards.

If required, the wardens would help raise the alarm among residents and businesses within their defined area.

The council said it hopes to formally launch the scheme by the end of August, following a training session for wardens.

A public meeting to update residents on the work which has been carried out in the wake of the November 2009 floods is expected to be held in June.

Anybody living in, or close to, any of the proposed zones who is interested in becoming a flood warden should contact Aberdeenshire Council’s principal engineer for flooding and coast protection, Steve McFarland, on (01569) 768475, or by email at stephen.mcfarland@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.