Residents’ quick thinking thanked

Photo by Andy Hayes

Photo by Andy Hayes

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Mearns Conservative Councillor George Carr has paid tribute to the public spirited locals who leapt into action last week following the heavy rain which affected Fettercairn.

Cllr Carr said that on Friday last week, when a torrential outburst hit Fettercairn, alarm was widespread harking back to the devastating flooding which affected so many homes and businesses in 2012. “ Locals feared the worst when the river overflowed onto Burnside Road and caused widespread disruption. Thankfully the impact was minimal thanks to the quick thinking of a local farmer who had straw bales strategically placed to minimise any impact on homes in the vicinity. These big square bales have been effective in preventing water devastating areas and act in a similar way to big sand bags.”

Cllr Carr added: “Following the last major flooding incident, we had a large public meeting in the village hall which was well attended with all agencies represented, and locals pledged to do whatever they could to assist. Farmers and land owners were only too willing to do their bit to clear sediment and assist with water flows in the river further down from Fettercairn.

“Personally I feel extremely frustrated that we have not been able to progress those offers of help and in this latest incident. I have studied the photos and it is clear that there was a back up of water from lower down the burn which was able to flow past the distillery and the flood alleviation basin, but started to back up further down. I don’t blame any individual, Council or SEPA for this situation, but it just appears to me that our current generation have so much to learn from our fore bearers about these sorts of issues. Photos were on show at the public meeting which indicated how these water courses used to be maintained and were kept clear of debris to a very high standard. They even had a sediment trap to collect silt and shingle, and was then emptied regularly and used for other purposes. Officialdom, paperwork, licences, rules and regulations have all played their part to strangle the maintenance of our water courses to their detriment.

“Marykirk however, has recently been a problem area with the road impassable after any period of prolonged rain, but on Friday there were no problems. Why? Because last year we had such a major flooding incident on the road which caused major problems for emergency vehicles and the public that authorities were forced to act. The lade there which had also been requested to be cleared both at the Fettercairn public meeting, Community Council meetings and by all four local Cllrs. was finally cleared from the flooded area all the way to the Esk.

“It worked perfectly on Friday and did the job it was originally designed to do. Older and wiser people than me have not been slow in giving advice.

“Ian MacDonald in Stonehaven has been stating for some time that the river mouth is where you start with a flooding problem and work your way back, taking a holistic view of the whole river rather than isolated action on small stretches where we can get “permission” or “licences” to act. Fettercairn requires the same approach and we need to learn from our ancestors wherever possible. Some of these water courses are man made - but made for a reason, and they were then maintained as a top priority along their full length.

“We can blame climate change which may indeed be a factor, but it does not explain how our water courses are regularly having difficulty coping following sustained periods of rain which are not abnormal.

“In the meantime we salute our local heros who step forward to deal with the symptoms of this inertia our society seems to suffer from”.